ikillchicken's Anime

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AD Police (OAV) So-so

The atmosphere and mood is pretty effective. Otherwise it's a fairly standard cyberpunk anime.

Afro Samurai (TV) Not really good

It was what it was. Nice animation and art and great bloody action. Nothing in the way of story though. That combined with the fact that it was so short made it tough to get into it much. It was fun to watch these dudes kill each other, but ultimately forgettable.

Akira (movie) Masterpiece

Overall, Akira is just such an experience. The music is fabulous. Right up there with the best anime has to offer. The animation is top notch. Arguably the best I've seen. In fact, my one complaint was that it is so well animated that the characters movements and expressions are so dramatic, it essentially amounts to 'overacting'. It all combines into one heck of a ride.

Some Random thoughts on the anime v manga: The movie is not without it's flaws but I think it handles it's core characters extremely well. The manga has a much broader scope of focus and a much larger cast. I don't know if that's a bad thing overall but it is at least in that it steals some focus from the likes of Kaneda and Tetsuo. In the movie, Kei and the kids play a much smaller role and a variety of major characters are dropped entirely. Overwhelmingly, Kaneda, Tetsuo and the gang are the main focus of the movie. As a result, their personalities and specifically their relationship is much better explored. I also like the addition of Kaori and the changes they make to her character. I think she helps humanize Tetsuo and make him more sympathetic.

On a totally different note, I also just love the way the whole city is portrayed in the anime. The city is practically a character itself. You just get this sense right from the very start that, as the slogan goes "Neo Tokyo is about to explode". You can just see all the corruption and decay and feel the tension and the unrest bubbling below the surface and bursting forth periodically. That's there to some degree in the manga as well but I never quite got the same feeling from it. Also, as much as Akira may truncate things, it keeps the best. The second half of the manga which is largely cut never quite lives up to the first half. It's not bad by any means but it definitely treads closer to the beaten path of post apocalyptic super powered action. It's damn good apocalyptic super action. Still, it kinda overloads on this stuff and as a result it becomes a bit more mundane. It loses to some degree the epic nature of the the material from the movie.

(The) Animatrix (OAV) Not really good
See individual segments.
Appleseed (OAV) Decent

This is by far my favorite entry in the Appleseed franchise. The movie is definitely more Sci-Fi oriented where as this is really more of an 80's buddy cop show with a Sci-Fi backdrop. Of course this means the Sci-Fi musings are a bit played down but as a result it's significantly more fun to watch. The characters are vastly stronger. Brialeos actually has a lot of personality and Deunan is not just physically tough but all around strong as opposed to vastly more whiny incarnations in the movie and manga respectively. Overall, this show is very well presented. The animation is fairly fluid and the art style has a nice, somewhat soft look that works well to balance the more simple looking humans and the more detailed machines. The pacing is also solid and there's a very smooth flow to things that's so often missing from these older productions. I chose the dub after some consideration. It sounds extremely natural and again helps enhance the flow of things. It's also laced with added profanity at every turn and a couple particularly cringe worthy lines. As this is a bit on the goofy side to begin with though I didn't hugely mind. I'd stop far far short of calling Appleseed good but it's definitely a pretty fun anime if you like this kind of thing.

Appleseed (movie) Not really good

I actually quite like Appleseed save for two glaring flaws. The animation and art is excellent...for the backgrounds and mecha. The humans on the other hand...yikes. To start with, the cell shaded look is just not very good looking. This is magnified by the fact that it clashes horribly with everything else. The clean, very traditional anime style characters looked as if they had simply been pasted over top of the much more dark and realistic mecha and backgrounds. The humans also looked terribly awkward in their movement. For this reason, things looked best when they stopped talking and got in their mechs and started shooting.

The plot was surprisingly solid. A good concept with some nice twists. Where it was really lacking though was in the characters. Deunan is all tough and what-not physically, but shes such a big old crybaby. Brialeos just comes across as lifeless. The fact that he looks like a robot makes it tough enough to really connect or identify with him, and his major lack of emotion and especially personality make it far worse. These off putting characters really do put me off the movie.

Aquatic Language (special) Decent

Okay...that didn't really make any sense. It was actually pretty cool though. The unique, fast paced cinematography is really cool and it's neat how all the dialogue sort of ties together. Certainly worth spending the 9 minutes it takes to watch.

Area 88 (OAV) Not really good

It looks pretty good and I like the very 80's music even if it's a bit cheesy. This is just such a utterly boring show though. It's just not a show that succeed in piquing my interest in the slightest. The core of the story seems somewhat solid but they just take so bloody long to get anywhere. Everything is so long winded, rambling and unfocused. The premise is really contrived as well.

Armitage III: Poly-Matrix (movie) Weak

Ug. Uneven, rushed and painfully unsubtle at times, the plot is a huge mess. While it starts out as at least a moderately fun movie it gets more and more bogged down in it's own nonsense as things progress and quickly becomes quite dull. Ross Sylibus is a utterly boring character who's totally devoid of a personality. Keifer Sutherland's performance is completely monotone and feels completely phoned in too. Armitage is okay. She at least has some emotion even if it's not very subtle. Berkley does a pretty good job with the voice work. She gives her a rather charming, youthful energy. I do like the music a lot too as well as the stylish character design, artwork and cityscapes. Again, this all makes it a pretty fun and stylish movie for the first half hour or so. It can't really save it from the mess it all devolves into by the end though.

Aruvu Rezuru - Kikai Jikake no Yōsei-tachi (movie) Bad

Heavily implied imouto fetishes, girls running around naked and randomly kissing boring MC-sama, terrible and pointless acronyms, awful world building, a complete failure to understand that just giving you a bunch of incoherent, context free info babble does not make your show interesting...Do we really need the government to be funding this? Such material seems to get made just fine on its own. It's almost funny too. For a brief moment, the show actually started to get interesting. This girl is reflecting on just how weird if feels to be in the wrong body. She doesn't even know if she is right or left handed. It's very smartly written scene that highlights the rather large gray area of little things that aren't quite part of our physical body but aren't quite part of our personality or memories, what we think of as our "mind" either. Aaaand then she starts talkin' about her boobs. Because of course she does. Oy.

Attack on Titan (TV) Very good

This show is definitely a little hit and miss. There are some significant inconsistencies in the pacing throughout (especially in the first half). A few incoherent moments here and there too. But when it hits (which it does most of the time) it hits so hard that it is more than worth the odd awkward bit. This show is super intense. (Which is probably to be expected from director Tetsuro "Potato Chips" Araki). But it completely works here and doesn't feel at all overwrought. The show also looks very nice too. Rich, heavy lined character designs. The Titans are incredibly creepy with their twisted grins and awkward plodding movement. Strong, bold music. The characters are mostly quite solid. The sheer size of the cast is a bit awkward. I mean, it's not too bad because they do a fairly nice job of spelling out who is who. But it seems like at any given time you can count on the show having at least a few really extraneous guys who are just sorta there in the background. The core cast is quite strong though. Because time moves so rapidly you get to see the characters change a lot as they grow up and it's neat to see Eren's initial childish rage develop over time into a more tempered determination. It is kinda awkward how he basically disappears for three full episodes just when things are heating up though. But in the mean time, Mikasa really steps into the spotlight. It's a little jarring but mostly good stuff. And the show really throws the viewer a neat curve ball toward the end of the first season that certainly mixes things up. Also, part 2 is distinctly stronger than part 1. Not that part 1 is bad by any means. But part 2 really irons out most of the little issues part 1 had. I like the new characters too. Aside from the main three and Jean, most of the side characters in part 1 are pretty bland. Which is fine. They're largely just background noise. But the Survey Corps guys are much more interesting. Levi is super cool but also gets some nice development of what's lurking behind his cold exterior. And I really like Erwin. Initially I thought he was basically just a figurehead for the corps. I figured Levi was the guy actually running the show and he was just a go between who is capable of being more diplomatic since Levi is kinda a douche. But clearly I was wrong. He's actually just as much of a badass as Levi even if he isn't quite as skilled and he is completely the one running shit. Also, my choice for fight of the year is clear: Titan Eren vs Female Titan. No question. That was seriously sweet. You know, this reminds me of how much I've missed good action anime. So few shows have the budget to pull off real choreographed fights. They either cut away from showing the blows or just have like one attack and then the characters stand around talking. But this was just boom! boom! boom! Proper action. Hells yeah. The show manages to come to a really nice endpoint too. It doesn't really resolve a ton plot wise but it definitely wraps up the arc and feels super impactful. Plus they leave us with a really crazy hook for the inevitable season 2.

Ayakashi - Samurai Horror Tales (TV) So-so

Part One: The art style is hit and miss. It has a nice, pale look to it but the frequent lack of shading or different color tones give it a bland, blobish appearance. The animation is quite nice in some places but more frequently cheap looking and lazy. The main character would be a lot more likable if he wasn't screwing around on his girlfriend through this whole thing. It kinda takes the romance out of his already somewhat forced little fling. In fact, when you realize the situation he's putting Tomihime in it's pretty tough not to consider him quite a bastard. His little demon sidekicks are also a bit annoying and their motivation doesn't really make any sense. Also, while Tomihime is at least slightly sympathetic the rest of here little group just come across as monsters. Really, nothing in this show makes me care about the characters or what is happening in this show.

Part Two: The art style is a lot nicer here. Relatively conventional but nice. Nothing hugely of note though. Also, it does make some of the characters tough to distinguish from one another. This serves to add more confusion to an already rushed and confusing plot. That's the core failing of this story arc. The plot is ridiculously rushed. They're obviously trying to tell a much longer story in only four episodes. Plot twists are a dime a dozen. Not a minute goes by without some kind of twist or revelation. Because of this absurd pace however, you never really have a moment to breathe and the consequences of these twists are never developed. As a result, nothing really carries any dramatic weight. In fact, he whole plot feels disjointed.

There's essentially two largely unrelated plots that are only tenuously tied together by a couple convenient plot devices. What's more, both are somewhat hampered by the show's tendency to focus entirely on one for an extended time and then suddenly jump over to the other for equally long. It multiples the other problems I mentioned earlier. There's also a lot of exposition both through monologues and by narration. Narration by the writer of the play on which the story is based is used as a framing device but it feels needless much of the time and heavy handed when it is required. It eventually spirals into what is essentially a documentary about the supposed curse surrounding said story that fills out much of the last episode. It really feels out of place and needlessly draws out the story which really does not focus primarily on this concept until now.

Part Three: The art style used in this arc is gorgeous. It's extremely detailed, especially in terms of the backgrounds. The characters also look absolutely great as well with a similar level of detail. However, they're also a bit more smooth and clearly defined which is key. There's very little black or heavy lines used. Everything is done with bright and vibrant color. Thanks to the clearness of the art, even with this heavy mix of color and detail, things remain well defined and don't simply blend together. My only criticism is the rather questionable choice to present the whole thing through this rather grainy, parchment-like filter. I can see what they're going for and if they'd chosen to apply this grain only to certain surfaces to give them texture, it might have worked great. Hell, as it is still works in a lot of shots. Sometimes though, having is simply spread over everything just slightly distorts the otherwise stellar visuals.

Despite said stellar visuals, even I must confess that the first episode is a bit slow. The show definitely starts off rather slowly and parts of the initial story could be told a little more smoothly. By the end however, it builds to an amazing and moving conclusion that's nothing short of excellent. The concept of the medicine seller needing to learn the reason for the evil spirit's grudge is a great plot device that really lets them dig deeply into the story and characters without it feeling contrived. It really makes this so much more than many a generic demon slaying tale. There's a lot of these Japanese 'grudge' tales out there but this is one that really works. The heart wrenching story behind it all really goes above and beyond all the millions of reasons a person might carry a grudge against someone.

The 'Goblin Cat' itself is also tremendously well done. There's a ton of forgettable monsters out there. This one is effective precisely because it's more of a spirit. It never takes a completely physical form. It's just this huge, vicious mass of hatred which is perfect for this kind of 'grudge' story. There's a lot of neat touches in how it's presented. For instance, the way initially you don't actually see it and instead follow it's movements by the glowing and fading of the seals placed all over the walls is really cool. The animation definitely seems to cut a few corners initially. As things progress however, it does get better. Especially for the important parts, the animation looks great. The music is also quite solid. The heavy drum beats help heighten the tension as things get crazy and the ending theme is appropriately mournful for the conclusion. Overall, this final arc is not something you should miss. In fact, it definitely even makes the earlier two worth slogging through. Unless you're a compulsive completionist like me though, there's no reason not to just skip the first two and go right to this arc.

Baby Blue (movie) Very good

A lot of people may view Shinichiro Watanabe as more of a fun and stylish action guy but every one of his works also contains and extremely well developed sense of the somber and conflicted relationships between his characters. The short run time of Baby Blue does nothing to diminish this trend. In fact, it really stands out since he for the most part has ditched excitement and action to focus on telling a emotional and bittersweet story of the relationship between two people. Unfortunately the brief bits of action here fail to excite or up the tempo as they should due to their quiet and low key music which while perfect for the rest of the movie, isn't really appropriate for a chase. Still this is an excellent short movie right up there with some of his other work.

Baccano! (TV) Very good

The story is actually quite digestible despite the massive cast of characters and shifting time frames. It all comes together really nicely in the end. Everything falls into place well. That said, it really isn't until the second half that this show gets going. There isn't much in the way of actual conflict or significant development in the first half. It feels more like the necessary positioning the pieces to set up for the inevitable explosion in the second half. Really though, despite this I enjoyed every minute of Baccano. It's just such a vibrant, lively show. The music is great. Especially the opening theme. The characters are what really make this show shine though. Issac and Miria are hilarious. Their dialogue and interaction is so much fun. Also, Jacuzzi Splot. Let us all take a moment to contemplate the awesomeness of that name. Really though, there are so many great characters here. Virtually all the players are given a great deal of depth and none of them feel like throw-aways. I love the dub. The whole show is so over the top that it really fits the somewhat corny accents.

Baldr Force EXE (OAV) Awful

Boy what a train wreck. Lets start with the worst. The characters are just terrible. Every single one of them is nothing but a one dimensional, unappealing, cliche. They're mostly devoid of any even superficial personality too. The plot is bad. It's pretty cliched and frequently predictable although also sometimes strangely inexplicable. There are quite a few events that don't really make any sense. A whole lot is never explained either. There is one genuinely effective scene (the 'virtual rape' one) which is actually not as exploitative as you might expect and in fact quite well done. Unfortunately it is rendered useless by the surrounding lack of development and failure to really go anywhere. The animation is fairly nice actually but only in the real world parts. The virtual world and the mechs in particular look pretty poor. About on par with what you'd expect from a medicore video game. I actually liked this at first as it helped create a sense that it was artificial. However, very quickly began to seem just lame. They move in a very jerky, twitchy way too which really takes away from the fights. Because of that, the series is actually pretty boring even during the action parts.

Bannō Yasai Ninninman (movie) Decent

Some fun imagery. Her wimpy father is represented as a parrot and her pushy mother a squirming cuttlefish. Generally, very nice art design. Very vibrant and detailed, especially for a fairly down to earth story that really didn't strictly require it. I really quite liked most of the story. Her issues with her best friend and her fears were well handled. If they'd just stuck with that I'd definitely give this a very high rating. However, the whole thing with her imaginary veggie friends seemed just like a needless (and rather annoying) hook that didn't really add anything and actually kinda guts the climax by preventing the girl from ever having to actually do anything. The film would have worked better without them.

Basilisk (TV) Decent

Cool characters, a dark and moody story that packs an emotional punch. Great looking heavy, darkly lined art style and nice animation and brutal bloody fights. The action scenes are really nice and there's a nice assortment of neat powers and abilities. It can be a bit unpleasantly grim and disgusting at times but it's generally a very solid series.

Batman: Gotham Knight (movie) Weak

Contrary to ANN's listing, this really isn't a movie. It's a collection of shorts and that's the problem here. Each part is only about 10 minutes and while there's a minor overarching continuity, each segment takes on it's own premise. Because of this though, none of the segments ever really have time to develop. They're just a series of brief glimpses of events. None of them are allowed develop to the point of significance. The first segment is a neat concept but I think it may have worked better as a later segment. It was a novel way to introduce Batman but at the same time because it was first I found myself wishing they would get on with it already. The animation style was off putting too. Overall, the constantly shifting animation styles were bothersome. The second segment was probably the weakest. It was really rather pointless. The third segment had a solid premise that might have proved effective but it failed due to poor execution and limited time. Too much time was spent on the set up and the need to save the injured man was not effectively communicated. The fourth segment was probably my favorite. Instead of a more lofty concept it was what perhaps these shorts should all have been, a simple stylish battle between batman and his enemies. It ultimately disappointed as well however due to limited time and the short lived fight with Killer Croc. The fifth segment was a high point as well. It had by far the most depth of all of them. It actually managed to give some level of depth to the concept it presented. The final segment was a passable but lively and reasonably entertaining action sequence. All in all, this would have worked far better as perhaps 3 25-30 minute segments that actually carried some weight. As it is, unless the idea of it being a Batman anime is just that huge of a deal to you then this is pretty perishable. These ideas and Batman in general has been done so much better in so many other places.

Battle Angel (OAV) Good

This is quite a little gem of an anime. It's really very well done. It looks great with very fluid animation, great character designs and a nice overall look. The premise is neat and while the plot isn't really note worthy there are no actual problems with it either. Where this really shines though is in it's characters. Gally is likable because she's sweet, cute and energetic but they don't overdo it like so many anime to the point where it's annoying. She is somewhat unsure of herself but also very forceful and strong when she needs to be. Overall she is well developed, as is Yugo and their relationship which feels very genuine and believable and is quite sweet as well. The secondary characters are well developed as well and all are brought to an effective resolution. This is impressive especially in light of the length of the anime. That said, this may actually have worked better as a movie. An added 20 minutes or so would have been nice if nothing else, just to give a bit of breathing room between the setup in the first episode and the conclusion in the second.

Beast Wars: Transformers (U.S. TV)

God I love Beast Wars. Many of you older fans may have grown up in the 80's watching Transformers. Well, I grew up in the 90's watching Beast Wars. It's one of the fondest memories from my childhood but I also maintain that it is a genuinely good show. Without a doubt the animation is sometimes clunky although certain parts do shine especially for CGI of that age. It has a very nice visual aesthetic. The characters all have their own very distinct and iconic looks with a nice use of color. It can be a bit too cheesy on occasion but generally the plots are kept relatively down to earth. The characters are where the show really stands out there. There's a ton of attention payed to facial expressions which is key because they all have very distinct and outgoing personalities and there's a great deal of very entertaining interplay between the characters. The battles are pretty solid as well. In some parts I'd even say they're exceptional. Overall it's an extremely fun show to watch.

Berserk (TV) Masterpiece

Berserk has so much great bloody action and at the same time, such depth in its story and characters. They are all developed in great depth. It's absolutely brutal but not in a lame, gore for the sake of gore, exploitative way. It really feels like there's a purpose behind it all. If you've got the stomach for it, I would absolutely recommend it to anyone. I also think the anime has tremendous value even in addition to the manga though which continues the story. Some may have issues with the ending and I expect everyone will have issues with the numerous animation shortcuts. (Try drinking a shot every time they pan over a still image instead of actually animating it. Do not watch multiple episodes though or you will die of alcohol poisoning). What the anime adds however is definitely worthwhile. The dub is excellent. I could take or leave some of the extras, Guts and even more so Griffith's voice work is absolutely stellar. Also, while I may be alone on this as it is certainly sometimes a bit on the campy side, I really like the music. It gives the series a very epic and yet also very contemplative, down to earth mood. I actually quite like the ending as well. It is admittedly totally inconclusive and pretty much as grim as an ending can get. I actually find it suits the tone of the series just fine though and it's actually a pretty damn epic conclusions despite it's flaws.

Beyond (OAV) Decent

Quite a well done little segment. It's very effectively mysterious and suspenseful if also quite light hearted. The music is particularly memorable and the animation is very fluid. It's a real nice breath of fresh air.

Beyond the Boundary (TV) Very good

This show is a classic case of stellar execution overcoming mediocre ideas and elevating the result to something that, while perhaps not a masterpiece is still a tremendously enjoyable show. For starters, animation here is top notch (especially for a TV series) as is the composition and visual direction in general. It really does a ton to bring this show to life. The fights are very dynamic and even the non-action scenes have a real nice visual flair and attention to detail. The music is really quite strong too and is often used to nice subtle effect.

The pacing and mood are also well handled. They travel between some pretty light, goofy stuff and some rather dark stuff too especially as the series goes on but they definitely know how to handle the transition. They're smart about giving us room to breathe between the darker parts and the goofy parts and the two tend to be buffered nicely by some in-between scenes that more sombre but not quite as grim or violent. The biggest issue with the writing is world building. The setup here isn't great. There's some exposition early on and then a whole lot of nothing in terms of explanation. It's all fairly unimportant though and this is a fairly generic premise anyway so it's not a huge deal. Meanwhile, the humor falls somewhere in between on average. (Much closer to good than bad though). In general, the show has a pretty damn good sense of humor, especially in terms of visual humor thanks to its production values. Some jokes do get overplayed though. Aki and Hiromi love to talk about their fetishes for glasses and little sisters respectively. A lot of times this actually works. It doesn't feel like this fetishized thing for the audience but rather the show treats it as being precisely as dumb as it actually is. And the way Mitsuki shoots Hiromi down or takes her revenge is pretty funny. The biggest issue I've had here is just repetition though. It just isn't funny after the first couple times if he's just saying that he likes glasses. They do often come up with new and more specific material though that puts a fun twist on things.

Where the show really sells itself though is its characters. Mirai is completely adorable. I normally have no use for moe stuff but she totally clicks for me. Partially I think it's because the quality of the animation brings out a lot of nice little subtle mannerisms and stuff and makes her feel more like a person and less like a caricature. And also, she's as much dorky and awkward as she is cutesy or timid. It's quite endearing to see her open up a bit as the series progresses. And she's actually very willful and turns into quite a badass by the end. I generally like Akihiko too. He's a little more bland by comparison but he's by no means a non-entity. He has great chemistry with Mirai. I also like the secondary cast. Hiromi is a fun character and they do at least enough with him to round him out. The late addition of Sakura to the group I also like. She's funny in a really melancholy way, which, at the risk of reading too much into things, kinda makes sense. She's obviously been consumed with nothing but her plan to kill Mirai for quite a while and now that they've made up she's kinda at loose ends. And its cute how she just kinda follows Mirai around now like a lost puppy dog. And the rest are pretty solid on average too. Izumi is a pretty cool customer who totally runs shit with ruthless efficiency and cold detachment. She definitely keeps you guessing right up until the near the end in terms of her true motives. The Fox Youmu is fine too and has some funny moments in her own deadpan way and both her and the other Youmu hunter are nice enough to have in the background or to jump in on the action every now and then. Could do with less Ai. Although, mind you, even she gets a couple awfully funny cat form jokes. So there's that.

Anyway though, getting back to Aki and Mirai, he plays up his whole "glasses" thing but it is pretty clearly just an act and a way of expressing his attachment to Mirai. Underneath it, the two have a really nice, subtle connection and it's that relationship that drives the show. It works too because the show manages to regularly reinvigorate that relationship by making us radically re-evaluate it. For instance, there's a fantastic twist so to speak in episode 4.*MAJOR SPOILERS FROM HERE ON* All the way up to that point Aki has kinda been tagging along with Mirai and trying to get involved with her. They get along decently well but she's obviously got this dark traumatic past and this dangerous power. And he seems like he's trying to be nice but really, its kinda just bullshit when he says he understands what it's like. And so she keeps pushing him away and trying to isolate herself. But as we realize during that pivotal fight, he totally does know what it's like. He's in a tremendously similar situation. And although it is sudden it makes perfect sense when you think about it. Aki being half Youmu is something that we knew but there was a conspicuous lack of elaboration on what that entailed. However, Mirai, and perhaps the audience themselves, fail to pick up on it because they're entirely focused on Mirai's problems. Mirai is so convinced that she's alone because she's entirely focused on her own situation. But she learns that she actually does have more in common with Aki than she thought. That really floored me.

This show really hits its stride in the last 3rd though. First off, the scene in episode 9 is simply sublime. Such a wonderfully tragic sequence that they pull off beautifully. Then though, what's even more impressive is that the show basically does it again in episode 10 with the revelation that Mirai actually came to town to kill Aki in the first place. This is the best kind of twist. Because it doesn't just serve to surprise you with an unexpected plot revelation. It makes you completely re-contextualize everything that's happened up until that point. It totally adds to why Mirai is so unwilling to get close to Aki in addition to her own reasons. Their meeting, where she tried to kill him, is so cool now too. I mean, it seemed fairly goofy initially so it isn't the perfect setup but it at least made enough sense at the time with him being half Youmu and her a Youmu hunter that I more or less just bought it and thought nothing much of it. But now it makes the whole "I was actually trying to kill you all along" twist work so damn well because in retrospect it actually seems so obvious since she was literally was trying to kill him initially. And it even follows that up with a neat sequence detailing the aftermath where Aki is dreaming. It's so artificially cheerful after last episode though that you feel instantly that something is off. And then you've got these scenes of Mirai in the winter which you assume is the real world where something is wrong with Aki from the battle. Except then it turns that right on its head too! This show has an great talent for misdirection.

They wrap things up pretty well too. They take their time and bring some resolution to Izumi by having Aki confront her. She's cold but honest and her motivations do make sense. And Sakura too. And Mirai's last text was really nice. Finally, they reuinite Aki and Mirai as the final battle kicks into gear (brilliant timing on the music there) which delivers what I wanted. It already kinda pulled off its last big twist in episode 10. All it really needed at this point was a big, epic battle where Mirai and Aki kick ass together to cap it all off. And the side battle with Izumi and co. was cool too if a little short lived. It might have been nice if Man-Glasses had more of a discernibly goal besides just hating Izumi and wanting to destroy everything. Then again, he was never really the focus so it wasn't a big deal one way or the other. And the conclusion with Mirai and Aki before she disappears is super sweet. Very well handled. I'm a little conflicted about them ultimately bringing her back. It's probably a little bit of a cop-out if I'm being 100% honest. Although that said, Aki's ending monologue was really nice and helps a lot. The fact that he actually has to move on makes what happened work a lot better. And cop-out or not, I'm really bloody glad they got back together at the end. I REALLY wanted them to have a happy ending.

(The) Big O (TV) Very good

Everything about this show is wonderfully stylized. It reminds me a great deal of Batman: The Animated Series. The whole city has a beautiful, looming, Gothic architectural look (albeit with more of a futuristic edge in here than in TAS). This sense of style in setting as well as character design combined with the moody music and contemplative pacing evoke a fantastic film noir mood. That said the show demonstrates an excellent ability to seamlessly transition to a more high energy, heroic mood during the robot battles. These battles are also quite well animated. I particularly enjoy the sense of weight they give to these machines through their heavy, high impact movements. The characters are fun and the series has a nice, low key sense of humor.

If there's a criticism to be raised against the show however it would certainly center on the plot. This applies equally to both seasons although for different reasons. In the first half, the stories do not really offer a great deal of coherency and the conclusions often feel a bit rushed and unsatisfying. The inevitable appearance of some sort of giant robot or monster for Big O to fight at the end of each episode feels a bit shoehorned in as well. Overall though, this is a relatively minor issue. Big O is first and foremost an atmosphere show and the plots mostly only exist to serve that end. In the second half, however, the plot really evolves into something a lot more complex. It's certainly more interesting to watch but then, it's also painfully incoherent.

BioHunter (OAV) Decent

Though not a masterpiece by any stretch, Biohunter is still a reasonably solid anime. Clearly it ought to have been a full length movie though. Limited to a short 60 minutes much of the premise and plot are very poorly developed and that which is is the result of simple exposition dialogue. The whole premise of one of the characters being infected feels completely rushed and we never really learn clearly what it entails. Once you move past this initial issue however the plot smartly reduces itself to a fairly simple idea that may not impress but basically stays out of the way. Thanks to this the action/horror scenes are able to shine. There are some quite effective visuals and design work as well as shockingly fluid animation. The up-tempo but moody music also does a lot in creating a compelling action/horror atmosphere. In a nutshell, it creates a production that's barely memorable but reliably entertaining for an hour.

Black Lagoon (TV) So-so

I just couldn't get that into Black Lagoon. It's okay I suppose. (Especially when you compare it to a lot of other stuff). Still, unlike Cowboy Bebop to which I've frequently heard it compared it lacks a certain uniqueness and sense of style as well as the memorable characters that made those shows really great. I also found it never really committed to the concept of gritty realism. It's still full of all the old inherently unrealistic action flick cliches. Characters are all assigned an arbitrary 'strength'. Revy is pretty much invincible because being the hero, she is the 'strongest'. That really doesn't mean anything specific. It's not like she actually does anything tangible to make her so good in a gunfight. She just always wins because it wouldn't be as cool if she was more or less, just as easy to kill as everyone else. There's also the whole arc with the maid. They just sort of decide that she's invincible...just...you know. Because. I guess that's...okay sort of. But it really stops the show from moving beyond a simple action flick. Where as something like Cowboy Bebop, even though it might be a little more out there with it's futuristic setting, it actually feels a lot more real. The characters feel like they exist in the real world. Here though, they just seem unbelievable.

Black Magic M-66 (OAV) Good

This is a great and drastically under-appreciated action movie. I mean, yeah, the plot is...just terrible. It's full of holes and doesn't really make much sense. That's largely irrelevant though which is why I still quite like it. There's really only a couple brief scenes of story and while many of the holes and inconsistencies permeate the action scenes as well, it's very easy to just sort of stop caring. This is just such a kinetic movie that you'll easily fly right through without ever being too bothered by these problems. Once you do that, this is a very well done action piece. The animation holds up quite well and I particularly enjoyed the unique way the M-66s moved. What really sets this apart though is the intensity of the action sequences. Particularly the second half in which they are pursued all the way through and to the top of a huge building with the M-66 constantly on their heels. It just keeps coming no matter what they throw at it right up to the climax at the very top of the building as it crumbles around them. The music plays a big role here too. It really helps build the tension.

Blast of Tempest (TV) Good

This show both looks and sounds great. The music is really strong with lots of dramatic orchestral music and such. The art design is nice if also fairly conventional (although note the beautiful ending sequence) and the animation (especially during the fights) is excellent. It gets off to a somewhat rough start though in terms of story. The first episode is really incoherent and does this weird time skip thing that doesn't really work at all. And even beyond that, this show definitely feels too exposition heavy in the first few episodes (albeit to a diminishing degree). At the same time though, the show is well paced, energetic and atmospheric enough that I did find myself getting quite into it regardless, both during the slightly rocky first few episodes and even more so after the aforementioned issues essentially disappeared. The premise is neat and sets up some rather unique fights. The plot throws in some really cool twists too so quickly things heat up. Although that said, this show definitely knows when to slow things down a bit too and flesh out its characters. They've really done a great job with the off beat, conflicted relationship between Yoshino and Mahiro. Aika is actually a great character as well. It's very tough to get a read on her. In a lesser show she could easily be a one dimensional cut out only serving to motivate Mahiro, but here they actually develop her as much as the other two via flashback. I like that they took the time to humanize the situation too in terms of the victims of the iron syndrome.

Where the show really kicks it into overdrive though is in the last few episodes. Yoshino and Somon's verbal battle is so cool to watch unfold and the show's capacity to just throw in twist after twist is amazing. Every time you think you know something the show turns it on its head. And what's so cool is that they aren't just empty, unsubstantiated claims. Every twist is supported by a well explained reason that actually makes sense given the logic of the show. It's really a lot of fun. Although, I'm sorry to say it takes a bit of a dive after. The second half is okay still. But I don't have much use for this new, would-be Mage of Exodus who increasingly steals the show. He's never really very interesting. And Hakaze fawning over Yoshino like a lovestruck tween is a big departure from the strong, active character of the first half. The plot also loses pretty much all urgency up until all but the last little bit too and time travel comes back into it but in a much more convoluted way. And the issue of Aika's killer is resolved somewhat unsatisfyingly. Or perhaps I should say, Mahiro's quest to find her killer is. Despite being incredibly tightly wound and basically living for revenge he just kinda accepts the situation passively and without any real sign of internal conflict. It feels very out of character. Again, don't get me wrong, the second half isn't bad. And there are still some great parts in there (like the scene where Mahiro and Yoshino reunite in the graveyard. But it's definitely just passable on average. And that drags the show as a whole down to just good on average.

Blood: The Last Vampire (movie) Very good

Without a doubt, Blood is one of the better 50 minute movies I have seen. The art has a fitting dark look and the animation is beautiful. The main character manages to pull off the "super powerful young girl", a characterization I normally rarely find believable. (see Blood+) She is so intense and tough, that you honestly can believe she is who she is supposed to be. The pace here is excellent too. It gets going immediately, only slows to establish whats going on, and then dives right back into things until the end. I loved the realistic touch of mixing Japanese and English.

Going back to my original statement though, Blood is a great 50 minute movie. Why is this not longer? That's not to say there is anything inherently wrong with a 50 minute movie. The problem is that this really feels like half a movie. The end seems like it ought to be merely the end of the first half and then Saya should go off and do something else for another hour and actually resolve the whole story. Instead, we're left with none of the questions raised being answered. Saya comes in, kills the bad guys, the end. Why? dunno. It's a real shame because Blood could easily be the first half of a really great movie.

All that said, while it lasted Blood was still quite good. I suppose it's not the worst ending ever either. It does at least conclude the immediate issue at hand and wrap up the one little arc. It even gives you a neat sense of the nurse's perspective. They show up, and then just disappear. You'll never know who or what they were. That's sort of neat. Looking at it this way though, it did irk me that they included certain little details that were left unexplained. Whats the significance of her being the last "original" or more specifically, why are they just acting like they think shes the last original? Also whats with her reaction to any mention of god/religion? It seems like nothing but a tease to add these little bits if you're not going to address them.

Blue Exorcist (TV) So-so

This show starts really strong with two very well handled establishing episodes. There's surprisingly effective character development. You get a great feel for Rin and his family and how they relate to one another, especially for a first episode. I also have to give the show major credit for not being afraid to start slow instead of pushing right into the action at the expense of development. For an episode that's 90 percent Rin's average life it's pretty entertaining. In fact, this proves to be the show's greatest strength going forward. They really take the time to develop their entire cast of characters who are all a lot of fun. Rin is quite funny and there's a great, comedic dynamic with his brother and really, most of the other characters. (Except for Tits McGee. She is an awful, absurd character who's breasts prevent me from taking any scene she's in seriously). Plus, as much as it may fall victim to a ton of the usual shounen and high school cliches, it executes them all so well that I don't especially mind. That's the thing about Blue Exorcist. It's just a really well put together show. It looks great. Production values are high and has a pleasant enough artstyle (especially nice design for some of the demons). Great, lively music, especially for the opening and action scenes. All that said, this show pretty much squanders everything it has going for it by taking forever to really go anywhere whatsoever. Plus, when it finally does go somewhere, it really just feels like a mess. A whole mountain of crap gets dumped in at the last second and none of these developments are really given proper time to...well, develop. Plus, a lot of the show's positives (strong character development, fun group of characters) seem to get pushed aside. So overall...eh, I don't know. I have a tough time knowing what to rate this show. On the one hand I never really was border or dissatisfied while watching it and yet I also felt like I could have dropped it at any time and not really cared.

Blue Submarine No.6 (OAV) So-so

If nothing else this is worth seeing for the visuals. Both the 3D and 2D animation look very good. (Although they don't blend that well). The overall art design is great, the various creatures being particularly nice. The lively music and quick pace all combine to create a fun and visually pleasing experience. Unfortunately it never really achieves much coherence in the story department which stops this from being much more that just decent. It also means the final episode in which the pace slows to a crawl is fairly dull.

Btooom! (TV) Decent

Lets just get this out there: This show is really schlocky and tasteless at points. That's fine though. I like schlock. So long as it's entertaining and this show is definitely entertaining. It's a fun enough premise that I can basically enjoy it so long as it doesn't do too much to shoot itself in the foot (which, unfortunately, a lot of shows like this do). Mostly* it doesn't though. The fights are really smooth (despite the particularly awkward one in ep 1) and nice a tense too. Really, the whole show has a very nice, tense atmosphere. I like the characters too. Sakamoto has a nice element of conflict about him. He kinda starts as a total scumbag but he can be surprisingly heroic at times. In the end he really comes around. It's a very nice character arc. The twist where they were all basically thrown to the wolves by someone they knew is cool too. It definitely puts an interesting spin on the characters (especially the seemingly nice ones).

*Okay. Let's talk about the elephant in the room. (The elephant is rape). I really wish this show wasn't so heavy on this kind of thing or at least applied a modicum of subtlety. The scene in episode 2 is really gross and unnecessary. It would be nice too if they could not use the word "purity". That's such an otaku buzzword that it really makes the whole thing seem super skeevy. This is a shame too because the show actually doesn't feel this way the rest of the time. Anyway, this isn't a deal breaker by any means. This is still a pretty solid show. This is a rather ugly wart on it though.

Bubblegum Crisis (OAV) So-so

You know, I think BGC almost works better as a music video than an anime. What makes it worth watching is the action sequences set to music. Most notably the first ten minutes of the first episode. This little bit is one of my favorite beginnings to an anime. Right off the bat it just draws your right in with it's phenomenal music (I still have that song Priss sings stuck in my head) and great atmosphere. It's set in the future but the mood and look feels more like it's the 80's (which I guess it was when this was made). That said, while this is just great when the action is happening and the music is blaring, when things calm down it's so-so. The dialogue is sometimes rough. The story is generally not especially clear and at times rather convoluted. The animation is a mixed bag. Reasonably good at times, (generally the action sequences are a high point) but pretty poor otherwise (during the non-action scenes). It's probably more note worthy for it's overall 'look' than the actual quality of the animation.

BUTA (movie) Weak

There are some anthopomorphic animals who live in Samurai era Japan. Which is fine I guess. Although I'd say it's...less fine that there are also animal animals too. In fact, there is even a cat which is just super weird because one of the "human" characters is also a cat. And its even MORE super weird because one character has this massive phobia of cats. But not the anthropomorphized one. Go figure. Anyway, the gruff Samurai meets the precocious (and reeeeeally annoying) kid. They bond. He saves him from the bad guys. Look, you probably know how it goes. Although, after that, a pirate ship transforms into a robot. Which was admittedly...less conventional. Although then it just goes immediately berserk and crashes so it really just ends up being a huge time waster. We don't even get a fight out of it. Which is a shame because that's the one thing that might have made this painfully forgettable movie remotely worth watching.

Cannon Fodder (movie) Decent

It's visual design is effectively bleak and militaristic. Pretty neat concept too. There's definitely some very neat satire here (or perhaps that's not the right word). Anyway, it's good. Not nearly as good as Magnetic Rose but still worth seeing.

Castle in the Sky (movie) Decent

Gorgeous visual design. There's a great amount of detail and just a nice look overall to all the various architecture. I'm not sure if the term steampunk is appropriate here or not. Suffice to say though that I really like it. It's got a nice, very gritty, industrial look to it rather than the much more flashy, extravagant style you see a lot these days. I feel like this more down to earth look actually adds to the grandiosity of it all though. Quite nice animation if perhaps not overall outstanding. Certain sequences are outstanding while others are average. I'd call it below average by Ghibli standards. I suppose that's not surprising given that this was an earlier work. Excellent sound also. A wonderful, sweeping musical score. An excellent dub as well, even by the high standards of these Disney dubs. (Mark Hamill more or less does his Joker voice for Muska). There are some problems and holes in the plot. It's not exactly something I'd recommend for the story. The characters are solid though. Sheeta and Pazu are passable if a bit bland. They could have used a bit more space to develop their relationship initially but they do rectify this by giving them plenty of attention later on. Muska is an effective villain and the pirates are fun. The movie is generally well paced even if the ending drags a bit. So overall, quite a fun movie. Nothing ground breaking but a rather entertaining adventure.

Cencoroll (movie) So-so

It's truly tragic that oh so many redundant pieces of crap are green lit every season for at least a dozen episodes and yet one can only scare up enough funding for a single episode of Cencoroll. Despite ANN's listing this is not so much a movie but essentially a pilot episode for what could be an absolutely fantastic series. It's a very interesting take on an old but awesome premise with a mountain of visual inventiveness. The whole thing has a very nice, soft sort of painted look to it. It definitely leans more toward introduction to things to come than stand alone short though. In fact, it's greatest failing as a short is that it does not honestly build to much of a climax, even an inconclusive one. The momentum seems to peak about half way through and struggles afterward due in part to the slightly lethargic pace and lack of music as well as the lack of any real climactic event. This is why its such a shame. It shows a ton of potential but based solely on the existing episode, that's largely it. It's not even quite something where you can say 'oh well, it' was fun well it lasted'. It's...so so while it lasts. Could be and probably would be fantastic if it kept going though.

(Le) Chevalier D'Eon (TV)
Claymore (TV) So-so

Eh, I guess this is an okay show. It does some things pretty well even if it has a lot of flaws. You can tell the manga ran in a shonen magazine. There is a lot of talk of rankings and power auras and special terminology and everyone has their little special technique or skill. These are relatively minor though or at least they are only the root of the problem. I can tolerate most of these slightly silly concepts but what kills me is all the heavy handed exposition dialogue that comes with it. It really slows down the show and beaks up the tension. This is especially problematic since this exposition often takes place mid fight. It's really ridiculous. The visuals have their upsides but aren't too great either. The character designs are nice looking but they're awfully silly with their giant shoulder pads combined with nothing but paper thin bodysuits. Also, because the Claymores are all so skinny and wear skin tight suits they only look good so long as the art stays perfectly on model. As soon as things get just a tiny bit sloppy which they often do it looks pretty bad. The animation is pretty decent quality when there is actual animation but they use a lot of really unfortunate shortcuts. There's the cut-aways from actual blows and delayed reaction blood sprays. There's also the perpetual moving so fast that you only see a blur trick. This is the kind of nonsense that just needs to stop. The ending isn't great either. It's not the worst ending. I mean it's not one of those 'okay we're done season 1, we're not doing season 2 so I guess you're out of luck' endings. It at least feels moderately climactic. Still, it doesn't really resolve anything. As I said though, despite all my complaints I've actually somewhat enjoyed Claymore. It's got a pretty effective dark atmosphere and well developed characters and the action sequences are pretty intense despite the aforementioned animation. The music quite effective as well if also a bit heavy handed on occasion.

Code:Breaker (TV) Weak

You know, initially I would have called this one of the better shows of the season. Generic ideas but executed well. They really seemed to understand those little things (that so many shows these days don't get) that allow you to tell an effective story that draws the viewer in. Very nice orchestral score too. It really brings the show to life. There's also a decent sense of humour to boot. This running gag where all their classmates interpret Sakura and Oogami's actions as them dating is just silly and exaggerated enough that it works really well. (On a related note, the show does a really nice job of managing its tone so it is able to get fairly dark at times but still feels appropriate when it swings back around for some humour like this). I liked the characters too for the most part. Oogami was cool and very badass. I liked too that he seems like a nice guy on the surface. I had wrongfully expected they usual "jackass on the surface who turns out to be a good guy underneath" trope but if anything the opposite is true. I like Sakura too...well, sort of. She was a little off-putting but. In the first couple episodes she's really forceful and determined (and can kick some serious ass) though which sorta made up for it. Episode 2 hinted at some interesting depth too that seems to back up her adamant opposition to killing. Of course, there were a few minor warts here and there. I really, really hope we never see Nenene ever again. I don't know what the hell to make of Sakura's parents either. Still, overall, quite good.

As the show goes on though...eh. I don't know. It is difficult to put my finger on what exactly changes for the most part. It feels, perhaps, like the more this show reveals the [i]less[/i] interesting it becomes. None of what it actually brings to the table is that interesting and it has lost a bit of the intrigue that got me into it in the first place. I mean, initially, Oogami intrigued me. He seems like he'd actually kill Sakura in a heartbeat if she got in his way. I was really curious to see how that'd develop. As things go on though, he mostly just gets softened into a rather boring decent guy. This is not inherently bad but the way they do it feels pretty false and generic. Sakura's steadfast naivety gets tiresome as the show goes on too. I don't mind that she's against killing. I can even live with her being rather naggy about it. I just wish they'd do something with this though already. I also can't help but feel like she becomes increasingly ineffectual as the show goes on which is a real shame and makes her feel even more naggy. There's also the issue of the bloated cast. There are no less than four other code breakers in addition to Oogami, only one of which has any substantial personality. None of them have the same dark edge as Oogami which means none of them feel all that believable. It kinda destroys any sense of foreboding about the code:breakers organization too. They seem less like a shadowy government hit squad and more like a wacky and loveable team of misfits. This, plus the fact that everyone has their own different powers, makes things feel a lot more like formulaic shounen than something more interesting.

Comedy (OAV) Very good

I absolutely love Kazuto Nakazawa's directorial work (or at least, what little of it exists). He clearly has quite the talent for unique visuals and stylization. This is a simple but elegant little story with a good musical score and great stylish animation.

Cowboy Bebop (TV) Masterpiece

Why bother echoing things that have been said millions of times before. Go read almost anything pertaining to Bebop. It probably says the same things I would be saying here.

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie Masterpiece

If I look at it a simply part of Cowboy Bebop then it pretty much gets the same response. This was essentially roughly equivalent to adding another two part episode. If you look at it that way it was perhaps one of the best "episodes" as well. It helped develop the characters a fair bit (not that they were lacking that without it) and set up well for the ending. The action and animation were also even better.

Crusher Joe: The Movie Good

Is it just me is or the optimal space crew oddly specific? You start with some sort of leader guy. Add a heavy set, grizzled veteran with a fake arm. Plus a competent and tough but also rather girly girl with a few...shall we say, unladylike vices. Maybe a hyperactive child genius and a small, non-human mascot-like creature for good measure. Yes, I love Cowboy Bebop to death but I have to admit, Joe's crushers may have been the original collection of space faring misfits.

Not that I'm saying that discredits Bebop, nor am I saying that the two shows are entirely alike. Cowboy Bebop is vastly more intelligent and contemplative in the handling of it's characters. The crusher team is far less complex. They're not an entirely uninteresting bunch though. They're a odd collection of misfits. Joe has a major problem with authority and resents following in his father's footsteps but at the same time being a crusher is probably the only trade he's suited for. Alfin is an interesting character as well. She's supposedly a princess but she's not the typical damsel in distress. At the same time, she's not some over the top badass either. It actually seems believable that she's ended up with this bunch because she comes across as a bit of a thrill seeker. When fights break out she jumps right into the fray. She can generally hold her own. She's rather flity though. She kind of plays to Joe's affections a bit. You get the impression that she's maybe not quite as hardened as the rest of the bunch and maybe a tiny bit spoiled. Talos is less interesting although it is neat how he tries to keep the peace when the other members of the team get into trouble.

Anyway though, the characters aren't really the point. The draw here is that this is just such a fantastically entertaining movie. The plot is enjoyable with a lot of nice twists and turns. It leads the characters through a variety of interesting settings. There's a ton of excellent space opera style battles and fights and a strong and exciting orchestral music score. It's all very Star Wars influenced. Albeit with more Han Solo and less Luke. Some of the scenes are particularly fantastic. There's a great early scene in a disco (You know you're watching an old movie when...) where the team get's in a brawl. It's really neat how the whole situation dissolves into chaos and everyone get's drawn into the fight. There's also another great battle on a hostile forest world against guys on jet packs. The space battles stand out a lot as well. The whole movie also looks great. The artwork is very alive with a lot of attention to detail. They have a nice habit of including a variety of little critters in the various outdoor settings. It adds an impression that these alien worlds are actually alive. The characters have a nice clean and distinctive look. The animation is quite good especially for something this age.

All that said, for all the positive aspects, there's no reason for this movie to be over two hours long. Particularly the whole segment in the pirate base feels drawn out. They sneak in, get caught, run away, escape, are pursued, finally get captured, immediately escape, run around for a while longer and then finally destroy the base. It's just needless and unwise. Such a high octane experience becomes downright tiring after a while. It's not even that it becomes boring. It's just very difficult to maintain your level of excitement for so long. It's a bit exhausting.

Crusher Joe: The OVA's Decent

These OVAs don't quite do as much well as the movie. The characterization is much flatter. There just aren't as many notable sequences or scenes. On the other hand, it does avoid the movie's pacing issues by not being so overlong. And hey, it's still a kinetic, action backed adventure with wonderful music. All in all it's still a very good show even if it doesn't quite live up to its predecessor.

Cyber City Oedo 808 (OAV) Decent

You know, something that I think may have become just a little bit lost as I've gotten increasingly into anime is how fun it can be. Not in the sense that it's super engrossing, interesting, or even good. Just old fashioned surface level fun. That's what Oedo is. It's not really 'good'. However, it manages to be silly without being downright stupid. The characters are surprisingly complex. The music is great (if also cheesy) and the solid visuals and action make it plenty lively. If you're looking for something silly and over the top but still fun, this is definitely a good choice.

Cybersix (TV)

I remember watching this on TV as a kid. I don't actually know if I saw all of it but maybe. It was actually pretty neat. It has a neat sort of old school pulpy scifi plot and a nice visual style. I don't know how much an older audience would appreciate it but you could certainly do worse.

Dallos (OAV) Decent

Dallos was released in late 1983 and bears the distinction of being literally the first OVA ever. The visuals however, are the antithesis of dated. The animation is quite fluid. Rather than have characters move as little as possible, they actually seem to go out of their way to add as much movement as possible. It really brings the series to life. Also, while the artwork does have that certain old school look but it's still quite detailed. The mecha and background design is also very nice. The sweeping orchestral score with lots of big booming horns (Think 2001: A Space Odyssey) is used effectively to enhance the mood. Overall, the presentation is really solid. The story is pretty solid as well. I quite enjoyed the depiction of the rebellion. It's not just something that is alluded to. It really feels like they've captured the look and feel of a city in rebellion. The main character is easily the least interesting part of the show but he's also barely the main character and gets very little screen time so its no big deal and otherwise it is pretty good stuff. The titular Dallos is actually the most perplexing element of the show though. It's this giant mechanical...thing just sitting out there on the moon any yet nobody has any idea what it does. I think its supposed to be man made in origin and yet somehow, over the generations, everyone, even the actual authorities, have just kinda forgotten what its purpose is. What's more, it manages to simultaneously usurp the climax of the show while also not ever actually amounting to anything tangible. We never really learn what the hell it is nor does it actually relate to the rest of the plot whatsoever. Really, the show would have been significantly better if they'd just dropped it entirely and focused entirely on the rebellion.

Death Billiards (movie) Good

Great atmosphere. Creepy but lively music. A wonderfully twisted premise that doesn't really waste time trying to explain itself. Really, pool is the perfect choice for a suspenseful game of death. Because you never know if you'll actually have another chance to shoot. Also, old guy is actually a fantastic opponent. He's so superficially harmless but underneath he is deadly serious. Cool ending twist. Gets a little muddled in execution but still pretty solid.

Death Parade (TV) Masterpiece

In lesser hands this show could easily have been a bit banal. I mean, it's visually gorgeous and totally dripping with tension and atmosphere and is tremendously fun as a result. Still, it could easily have been just the OVA over and over again twelve times. That would have gotten stale, especially if it just amounted to the same nihilistic result where people ultimately turn out to be terrible, selfish bastards when put to the test. But no. That's not it at all. At worst you could maybe say episode 1 is pretty repetitive of the OVA. And that's probably a necessity for new viewers. What this show is for the most part is a show about the arbiters themselves and the nature of their judgements. And without a doubt it is so much better for it. It is much more interesting to see them flip the focus to the people behind the scenes. Especially since the system is so heavy on mystery and subterfuge. Moreover, the ultimate point here seems to be just how utterly flawed the arbitration process is. It's really quite interesting. In actuality, this show is a complete rejection of that aforementioned nihilistic worldview (a view anime frequently, gleefully and childishly advances as if its in any way clever or insightful). Also, it should be said that even when the show sticks to more episodic content there is some very nice variety here. For one, there are some happy endings too. That makes things much more interesting, knowing that these people aren't automatically doomed from the start. There's even the odd purely comedic episode believe it or not.

Deathtic 4 (movie) Not really good

It's nothing if not visually novel. The plot fails to really ever amount to much more than an excuse to show off the art design though and feels a bit rushed at times.

Demon City Shinjuku (OAV) So-so

I would stress that this is not a bad anime. It's just rather bland. Nearly every element is more than just a bit better or worse that mediocre. On the plus side, the visuals are fairly nice. Some genuinely strong composition and art design here and there. The monster designs in particular are one of the few stand out features. On the negative side though the characters are largely one dimensional and cliche and the plot is rather generic and not that fleshed out. The music is very low key but more with the result of it being ineffectual rather than subtle. Somewhere in between lies the pacing which is a tad draggy at times but not overly problematic. The action scenes as well are solid but again nothing especially exciting. All in all, it's fine. Quite watchable.

Desert Punk (TV) So-so

Though it bordered on disturbing at times (I'm looking at you episode 11) It was overall entertaining. Punk's total lack of redeeming qualities made him a entertaining protagonist. Just the whole desert thing was cool. It did OK with trying to get more serious at the end but then took a nose dive once punk died. Kosuna was great as a sidekick but annoying as a main character.

Detective Story (OAV) So-so

Pretty nice art style and music. Overall enjoyable but way too short lived to be especially memorable.

Digimon Adventure (TV)

I watched so much Digimon as a kid.

Digimon Adventure 02 (TV)


Digimon Adventure tri.- Chapter 1: Reunion (movie) Decent

On the one hand, I quite like the character writing here. They're expanding a bit on some of the ideas from War Game, ie. the team growing increasingly apart as they grow up. That concept gets a lot more room to breathe here though. We see the strain that's putting on Tai, Matt and Sora in particular with the latter being forced to juggle her relationships with both. Incidentally, I love how teenaged the characters feel here. Matt plays in a crappy band, rife with drama. TK has started dressing like an adorable little hipster. It's weirdly endearing. The pace could arguably be tightened a little but otherwise I'm enjoying things. I wish the action scenes lived up to the writing though. The art and visual design are quite nice but for what is supposedly a movie, the animation is awfully rough. I'll give it some credit for ambition. There's some fairly elaborate staging. But clearly they didn't really have close to the resources to pull it off.

Digimon Adventure: Born of Koromon (movie) Very good

Unlike the rest of Digimon I'd totally recommend this to people for two reasons. 1) It works just fine as a neat little short. You can still completely enjoy it even if you have never even heard of Digimon. 2) It's actually really bloody well done. There's no cheesy transformation sequences, shouted special attacks or formulaic plot structure to be found here. No, it's just a very well told little story. It's charming and cute without being cutesy. The art style is really quite nice. The kids are cute looking and the monsters are really cool looking and yet it by no means looks like they don't belong together.

Digimon Frontier (TV)


Digimon Tamers (TV)


Digimon: The Movie (U.S.)


Digital Juice (OAV)

Really nothing more than a series of vague premises indented to justify a few different attempts at experimental visuals. Nothing of interest though really.

Dimension Bomb (movie) Bad

Utterly incomprehensible. Too bad too because this seemed like it might have been pretty cool if it had just made a tiny bit of sense.

Dirty Pair: Project Eden (movie) Decent

Some neat animation sequences. Otherwise a fairly fun but overall somewhat inconsequential movie.

Domain of Murder (OAV) Decent

A rare, genuinely mature and intelligent drama. It has a very 'real' feeling about it. The characters are just simple, average folks going about their lives. The simple, down to earth character designs are fitting although the animation is rather poor.

Doorbell (movie) Bad

Sadly, despite it's potential the premise is never really developed or expand on. On top of that the low key music, occasionally sluggish and awkward animation and dreadfully slow pace make this a dull and empty experience.

Dragon Ball (TV) Not really good

Yeah, I suppose it's a reasonably fun adventure. I don't know. I cant really say I have strong feelings about this show one way or another.

Dragon Ball GT (TV) Awful

It's arguable that DBZ should have ended several arcs before it did so it's no suprise this was an utter mess. Then again, I actually rather like the Buu Saga. This is just so much worse. I mean, I guess it's good they tried to mix things up and go more in the direction of their Dragon Ball roots. Except they really only managed to lose what made DBZ fun without regaining what made DB fun. Just a really huge mess all around.

Dragon Ball Z (TV) So-so

See my thoughts on Kai for more detail. I don't really have much to say about this version specifically other than that it I could never really call good because of the filler and the way everything is so drawn out.

Dragon Ball Z Kai (TV) Decent

This is interesting because as much as I love DBZ, I've only actually watched the original, heavily edited TV version. That's how I was exposed to it originally and I never felt inclined toward the daunting task of revisiting it due to it's length. That makes this a curious experience because Kai is essentially both a compression and an expansion for me. Although it trims out a lot there's actually a lot of stuff in there not present in the TV version. I actually quite like what they've added (or rather, not removed). There are a number of scenes that really add some nice context or give the story room to breathe. In terms of compression I have mixed feelings. I think I actually liked some of the filler episodes. Especially from the Sayin Arc. Some were pretty cool. I mean, remember that episode where Krillin & co fight those two Sayins (it's an illusion or something for training). That was a really cool episode and they dropped it entirely. Too bad. And I kinda miss the sense of time that it gave the series. It seems like, with all that intact, you got much more of a sense of the buildup as everyone trained in preparation for the Sayins. It made the payoff when they finally arrived all the more sweet. Then again, maybe I'm giving the show too much credit here. Some of the filler episodes are pretty bad too. In any case though, outright filler episodes were never the biggest problem with DBZ. The problem was the ridiculous way they'd pad out every episode even during major events. All I can say is that they've just done a wonderful job resolving that. The pacing here is so much more smooth. I can't say I actually remember having any opinion on the music in the TV version which definitely makes this music in Kai better by default if nothing else. But really, I actually quite like the music here. Some of the battle music is really great. It gives a neat, sort of western-like vibe to some of the standoffs. Can't stand the opening theme though. It's really just terrible. Rock the Dragon man. It's the only way to go. Seriously.

The Namek saga is also very good. It's a bit more adventure-ish because they're not just hanging out on Earth but exploring this alien world and I like that a lot. Plus, having Goku out of the picture and having them against a much larger and more varied enemy force gives rise to a lot of sneaking around and not engaging directly with the enemy which is more interesting plot-wise. Plus, Vegeta is doing his own thing which gives it another dimension instead of strictly good guys vs bad guys. In terms of set-up phase and not big final battle stuff, this is actually the series at its best. My enthusiasm for this show cools drastically during the third set however. The Ginyu saga is really not very good. The Ginyu Force is an okay one time gag that gets old quick. They're really just kinda silly as actual villains. Racoome is especially annoying (made all the worse by his awful "dur hur I'm retarded" dub voice) and yet he actually gets the most screen time of any of them where as the one maybe not totally lame guy, Burter, never actually even gets to have a real fight with anyone. He just gets smacked down by Goku instantly. That's part of the problem here too. None of the fights are actually any good since they're all entirely one sided. The same is true of the initial battle with Frieza. It's just this this string of back and forth: "Ha ha, I'm beating you", [Frieza transforms], "Oh no. I don't stand a chance." [enter next character] "Ha ha, I'm beating you", [Frieza transforms [i]again[/i]], "Oh no. I don't stand a chance", and so forth. Also, because they're in such a hurry to push through all these different forums, none of this really has much impact. I mean, the whole desperate struggle to survive until Goku arrives worked quite well in the Saiyin Saga but then, I think that was because they didn't jump back and forth like they're doing here. As the show moves into the actual climactic Goku/Frieza fight tough it gets back on track. They've trimmed it down to a very acceptable level. It still takes almost the entire fourth set but it feels at least like things are progressing as the fight moves along through various twists. Plus, Goku's ongoing fight is nicely balanced out by some background stuff involving Gohan & company trying to escape Namek so it doesn't feel quite as endless. Goku's transformation into a Super Saiyin is still extremely cool.

As we go through the aftermath of the Frieza fight and the transition into the next arc, I continue to appreciate the much smoother transitions here. You actually have a bit of room to breathe here instead of simply being hurled immediately into the next arc. I like what they've done with Bulma and Vegeta's relationship. In the TV version it just sort of comes out of nowhere that they've had a kid together and their actual relationship is never really addressed in the slightest. Here though, they actually do a decent job of setting things up. Yeah, there's still kinda this huge "footage not found" gap but it's definitely an improvement. Anyway, they eventually move on into the Android saga which remains one of my personal favorites from the old version. I like that it's more than just one big ongoing brawl. There's a little more complexity to the situation than just straight fighting. Especially after the Ginyu and Frieza sagas which were just straight fighting, this is refreshing. Also, I like what they've done with the androids. 17 and 18 are definitely creepier than I remember. They've got this whole weird, soft spoken, uncanny valley thing going. Same goes for cell (at least in his initial form). He's definitely one of the creepier DBZ villains. I think it helps a lot once again that he isn't just some new uber-powerful villain that smacks everyone around. He's actually at a disadvantage initially and yet he uses his cunning and ruthless tactics to overcome it. It's interesting too to see the Sayins pushed to the side for once and somebody else take centre stage. I really don't remember the Piccolo/17 fight being anywhere near this epic but it's arguably one of the better fights in the series. This is where, in some ways, it actually disappoints me that Cell kinda steals the show. I'd have liked to see more of the other androids. They're interesting characters who definitely lend themselves to the whole "bad guy turned good" thing pretty well. They're pretty sympathetic characters since they were basically kidnapped and turned into androids against their will. Plus, with the sole exception of their desire to kill Goku, they actually don't seem that bad. They'll certainly take what they want but they never really seem to go out of their way to hurt anyone. In fact, they actually seem pretty happy to just live and let live wherever possible. But yeah, unfortunately, they kinda end up pushed to the side when Cell shows up.

The Cell Games aren't great either. They're not bad per say but I'm just not sure what the point is. Cell suddenly deciding to hold a tournament doesn't really make sense and doesn't really add anything either. I mean, it's not like the tournament format really changes anything. Same goes for the ten day training break. Goku and Gohan just hang out. The guys that do train never actually get back into the action. All it really means is that we end up farting around for several episodes before things get going. Oh, and we get a bunch of Hercule comic relief. (Yes, Hercule. "Mr. Satan" is an absolutely idiotic name. I wish they'd changed it in the dub). Actually, I don't mind that to a degree. Hercule is fun. He massively overstays his welcome and even initially it just seems like pointless filler though that disrupts the pace. We could have jumped right into the final Goku/Cell fight literally right after Trunks lost. Anyway, the whole final battle is more or less fine. It's passable but it's not particularly memorable either. Unfortunately, some of the twists jump the shark. I actually like Goku quitting. It totally makes sense if you think about it. Him healing Cell is pretty silly even by Goku standards though. Also, Cell coughing up 18 and reverting to imperfect form is really silly.

So what do you say about the show overall? Is it a good show? Eh...not really. The Saiyin Saga is quite good. However, the Freiza Saga is a mixed bag, the Android Saga fizzles out, and the Cell Saga is really not very good. As far as Shounen shows go though, you could certainly do worse. In fact, I'm not sure you could any do better.

Dragon Ball Z: Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan (movie 8) Awful

Just shit through and through. Terrible writing. The story is wildly incoherent. Characterization seems way off. Very sloppy story telling. Jumps from scene to scene in a very confusing manner.

Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge (movie 5) Not really good

This movie could have been a lot better if they'd actually focused on Cooler more instead of wasting time on his goons. He seems at least potentially interesting but his actual part in the movie is really rather rushed. I do like that they find a decent excuse to have Goku out of action at first.

Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone (movie 1) Not really good

I actually like a lot of the visuals in this movie. Some of the big, crumbling buildings in Garlic Jr's palace and vaguely demonic imagery is kinda cool and somewhat stylish. The fights aren't bad either even if they're pretty brief. The story is also pretty awful though. They barely even try to actually do anything with it. We get literally all of a twenty second expository monologue to explain who the hell Garlic Jr is and not until half way through the movie. Instead, they fill things out with a bit of really pointless comedy relief.

Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug (movie 4) Weak

Who exactly decided that Gohan needed a fat, purple Dragon as a side kick? That was stupid.

Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13! (movie 7) So-so

Oh my god. I normally have no issue with the DBZ dub but here, specifically in the cases of the androids...It's laughably awful. Also, it's a little annoying to me that the only reason these new androids seem to pose a threat is because Goku and Trunks randomly wait to go Super Saiyin until late in the movie for no apparent reason. Still, this is actually one of the better movies. The androids are cool.

Dragon Ball Z: The Return of Cooler (movie 6) So-so

I'm confused. Are they going to Namek because Dende asked them to or are they on a vacation? I'm not really clear and neither is the movie apparently. Also, did this movie really need to have Oolong or Yajirobi in it? I mean, is there anyone out there that watches DBZ for those lot? Still, I think this is actually one of the slightly better movies. Meta Cooler is cool. Vegeta showing up is cool.

Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might (movie 3) Not really good

Decent enough I guess.

Dragon Ball Z: The World's Strongest (movie 2) So-so

Yeah, this is a fair bit better than the first movie. There's a little more to it. Not a lot still but at least enough that it doesn't just feel like this utterly random battle. There's a little context. I like the fights with those bio-android things. I also like Piccolo getting turned into a drone.

Durarara!! (TV) So-so

I'm not exactly sure why the creators of this show are so determined to tell their story is such a disjointed and uneven manner. I sort of get the impression that the director and/or writer really likes the idea of this because they think it's cool and like the thematic concepts it ties into but when you get down to it they're not actually particularly adept at actually telling a story this way. There was some of this in Baccano too and in retrospect I'd probably say it detracted from the show there too. It's just very messy and uneven. They disrupt the pace and they often end up sabotaging their own efforts by showing you little snippets out of chronological order and then filling in the context afterwards. More often than not though it just feels jarring and disorienting initially and in turn it takes away the dramatic impact afterwards when they show you how they arrived at this point. The overall story structure can also be problematic. They're so determined to scatter all the pieces on the board right off the bat that the show feels tremendously unfocused. You're a good third of the way through before you encounter anything close to a real central character or conflict to truly drive the show and even after that the show really just quickly sputters to a low-key and not overly satisfying conclusion at the half way point. Of course, all that said, I actually moderately like Durarara. It's still rather lively, intriguing and as uneven and unfocused as it may be the show is by no stretch devoid of substance. Whatever character they opt to focus on in an episode generally gets some real nice development. The three school kids are pretty bland but Izaya and Shizuo are both strong characters. I enjoyed their episodes a whole lot. I like Celty too (although I can't help but find her rather out of place in the series). That's where Durarara frustrates me a bit. It seems like a cool story that would stand up just fine on it's own without them trying to get so fancy with the storytelling which makes it's a shame they do and ultimately detract from it in the process.

Eat-Man (TV) Good

The art style is generally nice. It has a fairly simple and appropriately down to earth look but with a few little elements of flair here and there. They do an absolutely fantastic job of setting the mood and slowly developing the characters over the course of each episode. It's slow paced but very captivating to watch things slowly unfold. Some of the earlier episodes plots are a bit messy but as things progress though it becomes a bit more coherent. It's still often unapologetically abstract but still neat none the less. Overall, it's definitely a pretty cool, unique and intelligent hidden gem.

(The) Eccentric Family (TV) Very good

You know, I could easily watch this show just for the backgrounds. They are simply gorgeous. Even all the little stuff, furniture, floorboards, etc. It's all done in this gorgeous, textured coloring that looks like sort of like an oil painting. Beautiful, beautiful stuff. Of course that's hardly the only reason to watch this. It's a really smartly written show. Just a nice, quietly intelligent character drama. Benten is particularly fascinating. It can be a little perplexing just because it operates on this weird mythology logic that often doesn't make a lick of real world sense but eh, if you can get on board with that it's a pretty darn good show.

End of the World (OAV) Bad

I don't even know what I just watched. The visuals aren't even particular interest either. Mildly unorthodox but otherwise pretty forgettable.

Escaflowne: The Movie Weak

Gosh, I only barely remember this. All I have is a vague feeling that it wasn't particularly good.

Eureka Seven (TV) Weak

Good god this show is slow. Renton is a sulky whiner. Holland is a horrid, abusive jackass. Everyone sits around and sulks about this. That's pretty much the show in a nutshell. There's just nothing here that I find interesting or appealing.

Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone (movie) Good
To Rewatch
Fate/stay night (TV) Very good (dub & sub)

This show has some warts stemming from it's VN roots (and a few really odd instances where such warts are rather awkwardly cut out). That said, it is quite good for the most part. The characters are quite entertaining. I really like Rin. She's feisty. Also, while a lot of people complain about Shiro, I find him interesting. He starts out with a very naive view and eventually accepts a more compromised reality. I also love the concept of summoning historical warriors to fight. There's a great dark atmosphere here as well. The animation and art look nice. The fights are very good as well. That one part with Archer is particularly epic.

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV) Not really good

I'm rather tempted to address this show as two separate parts. It would make some sense given that the first part is pretty good but the second is just terrible. However, this is clearly a single show in the end. Part one is in no way a complete, stand-alone work. Thus, I'm gonna lump this all together. Here we go: The thing about Fate Stay Night is that it's pretty good at being a relatively straightforward, fun action spectacle. When it's doing that (and just that) it is pretty damn enjoyable. That's a big part of why I like the original DEEN adaptation of Fate actually. And that's why the first half of this show is, by and large, pretty good too. I'd even call it an improvement over the DEEN show. The production values are certainly stronger. And although I'm not overwhelmingly fond of aspects of the character designs here (they all have these oddly shaped and largely identical faces) they make up for it in other ways (nice costume design). The characters are pretty fun too. Rin is one of the better parts of Fate and it's neat to see the events of Fate play out but more from her perspective this time. It actually does a lot to improve her characterization too and she has great chemistry with Archer. Shirou seems better too. And again, this is coming from someone who doesn't mind him in the first adaptation. A lot of the stuff that really only came out much later in the series is getting fleshed out early on and it goes a long way to explaining why he does what he does. I even like Shirou and Rin together. He's just oblivious enough that Rin's tsundere tendencies feel believable. And it helps that the show backs this all up with a well realized sense of growing camaraderie between them. There's also a lot of various entertaining side characters. Lancer is great and Shinji is fun too is a comically evil sort of way. I'll also applaud a lot of the early plot decisions such as killing off a certain servant early on. It gives the proceedings more of a feeling of urgency and helps cement Caster as a serious threat. The previous adaptation kinda waded through the various servants/masters, each getting their own little few episode arc. As a result, neither Rider nor Caster ever really felt fleshed out. That the latter essentially steals the show from very early on (even if it comes at the expense of the prior) is definitely to the show's advantage. I just wish they'd done something similar with Saber (but more on that in a minute).

Man though, for everything that this show does right in the first half, boy does it ever fall apart in the second half. There are numerous problems. For starters, they simply seem to have run out of money. The second half looks overwhelmingly worse and pretty much all the fights fall very flat. There's also a fair bit of gross sexual abuse stuff too. I know the VN was stuffed with this and in general these shows have never exactly been great in terms of their handling of their female characters. It's a shame to see it really surface in an explicit way though. More fundamentally though, there's the whole Shirou/Archer thing which pretty much takes over the show. I...honestly don't even know where to start describing it. It's this massive, overwrought, long-winded ideological conflict. It's full of blabbing about their respective ideologies. This is what this route is really fundamentally about in terms of central conflict. It's just not that interesting though and it's certainly nowhere near complex or lengthy enough to fill out this whole show. Thus it results in an astounding slow pace throughout the second half and climaxes in an unbelievably bad stretch of episodes toward the end that are just essentially Shirou and Archer repeating the same talking point ad nauseum. Incidentally, it's also reliant on a fairly dubious plot twist. Archer, as it turns out is Shirou from the future which is largely as headache inducing as it sounds. What's more, they actually manage to add even more convolution with this particular "Counter Guardian" world mechanic which feels largely unnecessary. There's another problem though related to how Archer steals the show. He pretty much becomes the central antagonist. Yet the show is still stuck with all these leftovers from other routes as well. Gilgamesh is still kicking around as the actual ultimate villain even though by all rights the show should have ended after Archer. And then there's Saber who I alluded to earlier. Saber basically does nothing in this story whatsoever but serve as muscle occasionally. She barely even gets to do that in the end. In a move that exemplifies Saber's role in this show they dredge up Assassin, perhaps the least significant grail war participant in this show, who hasn't even been seen since some mid-way through the first season, for an utterly pointless fight while the others fight Gilgamesh. It's basically just janitorial work when you get down to it. The central conflict has been resolved. The true antagonists have been defeated. All that's really left is to clean up the few lingering pieces that are still scattered across the board.

So yeah. This is a bad show. It starts pretty good but there's no redeeming the mess it becomes in the end. It's not something I can speak positively about even for the sake of the good first half. All I can really say is that it's clear to me that this show should never have been attempted in this form. It should have been a 13 episode show instead that ended right after Archer died. Drop or kill off early Gilgamesh, Assassin and most importantly Saber. Of course, that was never gonna happen because that's not in the VN and this is an honest to a fault adaptation.

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV 2) Not really good
See above.
Fate/Zero (TV) Good

I'm just gonna address the whole show here instead of splitting it into two parts.

Let me start with the obvious stuff. There's a strong, dark atmosphere. The fights are good and the show looks great. The premise (summoning historical/mythical figures) is bloody cool. The first episode is undeniably pretty heavy on exposition and obviously is intended to catch up those who haven't seen F/SN. After that though, It more or less evens out just fine (and really, it's only even the first half of the first episode). While the more limited perspective of F/SN had it's advantages, I think this more omniscient one better lends itself to an intriguing plot. It allows more room for the various factions to collide and intersect as they pursue their various strategies and goals. Kirei's strategy with his servant was a neat twist and obviously Archer serves as quite the wild card going forward.

I quite like the characters as well. Kiritsugu is an intriguing and layered character. Apparently he's got quite the checkered past but then we find out that he's apparently turned over a new leaf. Then though we further discover that he's sneaking around behind the scenes and seemingly up to no good. Even still on top of that though, there's what we know about him from F/SN. Is that proof that he's really a good guy or will he change over the course of the series? It's definitely intriguing. I like Iris too. Her relationship with Saber is cute. It gives the series a bit more of a human touch especially with Kiritsugu being more on the aloof side thus far. Kirei is interesting as well. He's similar to Kiritsugu in that way. I quite liked the scene where they're both reading up on each other in parallel. It was quite well done and did a good job of setting the stage there. I also quite like Rider. He's pretty funny and plays off Waver well. In the long run, In the latter part of the series he is revealed to be quite the complex and fascinating character too. Really, this show has very strong character development all around. Even minor players like Kayneth, Ryunosuke, Lancer and Caster get rounded out. I disliked Caster a lot initially. He slaughters children with such frequency that it kinda just becomes comically absurd. They actually bring this around to a fairly nice bit of characterization later in the series though.

All that said, I can't help but feel a bit let down. This show is fun while it lasts but it never really manages to build momentum. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, there's just so much going on. No one storyline is ever able to really take centre stage and drive the show, especially since very little resolves before right near the end. This also means there isn't much of a feeling of buildup throughout the second half. The placement and length of the flashback to Kiritsugu's past doesn't help either. It takes you right out of the present story just when it seems like it should be heating up. Finally, the ending is quite lacklustre. I mean, parts of it are good. The big Kirei/Kiritsugu battle is cool (if disappointingly interrupted) as is the strange sort of Evangelion-esque sequence that follows. After that though...eh. Things just fizzle out. Archer doesn't even do anything. Saber doesn't really do anything either. In fact, they don't actually do much with Saber in the latter half of the show. Her confrontation with Berserker feels extremely short lived. We never really dig deeply into his character. There are some other criticisms too. The CG stuff doesn't look good. Also, the pacing drags a bit toward the end of the first season. We get an entirely pointless filler episode about kid Rin. In general there's just a whole ton of sitting around. Of course, there's also some great character development here so it's still good stuff but it feels a lot like we're just waiting to reach the half way point so they can kick off the big Caster fight.

Fate/Zero (TV 2) Good
See above.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (movie) Decent

I've seen this both first as someone unfamiliar with FF7 and again as someone who is a fan of FF7. I enjoyed it both times. I guess part of it is that I love that fast paced camera and fight style. It also can't be denied that it looked awfully good. The first time I saw this, I didn't really follow the story but was still happy to sit and watch the cool fights. After I played the game I followed the story a lot more. It makes quite a bit more sense. The ending is still rather unexplained. Really just the very end though where cloud gets shot and reappears in the church. How exactly Sephiroth came back wasn't all that clear either. Otherwise though, if you understand the game's plot it makes sense and really that was what this movie was. It was a sequel movie meant to bring closure to the game. It didn't have some huge independent plot to rival that of the game but you can't really expect that from a two hour movie. It did have some character development though and dealt with the aftermath of the events of the game which was in dire need of a conclusion.

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (US CG movie) Decent

It immediately irks me that it has absolutely nothing to do with Final Fantasy which really makes using the name nothing but a pointless money grab. Evaluated on it's own merits though, it's actually pretty good. Considering the level of realism it's going for the animation is really quite impressive. It's far from perfect but still quite impressive. The characters were a little generic but the story was neat. The ghost things were rather cool. Also, Steve Buscemi. All movies should aspire to have Steve Buscemi in them. Women too.

(The) Final Flight of the Osiris (OAV) Bad

Honestly, the only real purpose of this segment seems to be to show off the CGI butt cheeks they've put so much effort into rendering. I'm not really sure I see the point in attempting this kind of hyper-realistic CGI. Absolute best case scenario it looks almost like real life. But then, what real benefit to the viewer does it even serve? Why not just watch something live action? Of course, I'm getting ahead of myself anyway. This in no way comes close to looking almost like real life. Not even close and beyond that, it just feels extraneous. There's really no reason to watch this brief and unnecessary promo instead of just watching the actual Matrix movies. It's not outright bad in any overwhelming way but simply pointless.

Fire Tripper (OAV) Decent

This feels a whole lot like a proto-Inuyasha. Just way shorter and with time paradoxes instead of demons. It's pretty good though actually. It looks and feels quite smooth despite it's age. After Suzuko is thrown back in time, she seems very realistically shell shocked by the whole experience. Her relationship with Shukumaru is fairly sweet too. He's basically a good guy but obviously the fact that he's from feudal Japan creates a bit of difficulty as you would expect. The ending contains a neat little twist as well that's rather cleverly disguised by their choice to give away a related piece of information earlier. There's a bit of an awkward, disney-esque fantasy ending that raises some awkward implications but to some extent the paradoxical nature of the story helps justify it. The music is quite effective and dramatic as well.

First Squad - The Moment Of Truth (OAV) Bad

What a gigantic steaming turd. The whole thing is tremendously rushed and unbelievably convoluted. The story is structured in a really bizarre way, especially early on. There's a weirdly placed and thoroughly confusing extended flashback almost right off the bat followed by a subplot about the main character having amnesia. Er...except this amounts to absolutely nothing because in almost literally the next scene some guy shows up and just straight up tells her who she is (a specially trained psychic operative) which she apparently just accepts without question. Anyway, we spend the next third of the movie listening to an utterly staggering amount of exposition. There's all kinds of pointless plot threads that don't really amount to anything and a really over-complicated mythos that the movie can't hope to support. Of course, in all this, any sort of character development is lost. In fact, the characters are all flat and boring and there's absolutely no meaningful interaction between them. The action scenes aren't even any good either. In fact the first 3/4 of the movie are pretty much devoid of any action. All we get is a quick chase scene toward the end and then an even more brief sequence where some soliders completely, effortlessly massacre some knights (which actually makes perfect sense since the soldiers all have guns :lol:) On top of all that, this movie also has the audacity to conclude with a massively open ending that barely resolves anything at all. Ug. Let me be perfectly clear here: Don't watch this movie. I know what you might be thinking: WW2 era psychic Russian commandos fighting zombie knights summoned by Nazi occultists? That's gotta at least be worth a watch right? Nope! Somehow, they've managed to take that premise and make it dull and boring and completely devoid of fun.

FLCL (OAV) So-so

Well...this is certainly a nice piece of animation. Really, I shouldn't undersell that aspect of the show. Some of the big action sequences (especially in the later episodes) are really impressive. Not sure I have much use for this as an actual show though. It's mostly just zany and not much else. But there's really nothing funny about it for the most part. There are few actual jokes. Just wackiness for its own sake. It's not really even a parody. There are a whole lot of references. But there's just not really much meaning behind them. The story doesn't fare much better either. There's little in the way of an overarching plot initially and even when things do start to come together a bit towards the end, its all so weird, abstract and bizarre. Too often the characters just wander around aimlessly, occasionally interacting with each other at which point they ramble at each other back and forth, spurting out all kinds of random, nonsensical and unrelated declarations. Granted, the characterization is at least...somewhat interesting. I mean there does at least seem to be something going on there. It's all buried under so much insanity though and so much that just seems like meaningless chaff that it is hard to appreciate or even entirely suss out what to make of the characters and their situation.

Flowers of Evil (TV) Masterpiece

Rotoscoping is a fantastic choice here. It really makes the show work. It makes the movements way more detailed and realistic which lets a lot be communicated through body language and/or detailed facial expressions which is something you normally lose with traditional animation. I really don't think the level of nuance that makes this show work could have been done otherwise. And that sequence in episode 7 is surely one of the best animated sequences I have ever seen. There are a few drops in quality though. Occasionally there is a lack of consistency in which lines different frames emphasize. It gives the show a bit of an odd, jittery look. All in all though, I overwhelmingly like it even if it has its minor downsides. For this show and what it is trying to do the good far outweighs the bad.

Anyway, the mood here is just outstanding. There's this impending sense of dread to this series. It makes even the most mundane things fascinating to watch. Despite this though, the first half of the series actually feels more like a (rather dark) comedy. Nakamura is kinda awesome in her own weird, messed up way. She's so spacey, smelling her hands or counting crows...It's part of what makes her tough to read though which is part of what makes her really scary. And she's very sympathetic too since Kasuga is a bit of a creep. Not that I think she's only messing with him because he deserves it. She just seems to like to mess with people. But she's so bloody good at it you can't help but appreciate it. I mean, making him wear the stolen uniform under his clothes while he goes on his date? That's bloody brilliant in a horrible sort of way. Kasuga works really well too. You sort of feel bad for him since he's obviously just a socially awkward kid trying to deal with a lot of difficult feelings. But at the same time, you can't help but find the humor in his increasingly awkward situation since it is kinda his own doing for being a perv. And he treats everything so deadly serious and is so comically pretentious that you kinda gotta laugh at him. There's some great little moments of humor in Kasuga's reactions too. I loved watching him talk to Saki. Or more accurately, she talks to him while he just stands there frozen with this ever mounting look of terror on his face. There's a great scene too when Nakamura sees Saki and him together and this big, utterly terrifying smile spreads across her face...and then they cut right to Kasuga lying face down on the floor.

In the long run though, the show develops into so much more than a comedy. It's really funny that (dumb) people call Flowers pretentious. Because it's actually very much a criticism of empty pretension and ego boosting it serves. That's exactly what Kasuga is doing. And the show knows it. That's its point. Not only does he ultimately acknowledge this, it's really rather obvious that this is true from the start. And Nakamura is a wonderful character as well. She's crazy, no doubt. But at the same time, she's tremendously sympathetic. She's so profoundly socially isolated. She has literally no friends. Her classmates treat her like a leper. Hell, they even whisper and gossip about anyone who does interact with her. Her father, while well meaning, obviously has no idea how to communicate with her. She's very much the anti-Kasuga. He's ultimately just a pretentious little shit. But Nakamura has real problems. She's very much a victim of the stifling, inescapable and fiercely judgmental environment she's in. (Which is a well documented trend in both small towns and the Japanese school system). And I think that's sort of the ultimate point of this arc (to some degree anyway, I don't want to oversimplify). It's not just that Kasuga admits to being pretentious, he also ultimately realizes that it's not just about him. He comes to understand how much he hurt Nakamura.

Ultimately, my biggest issue with this show is the ending. It feels like it hit its emotional peak in episode 10 and the last three episodes, while by no means bad, never quite have the time to develop into anything that rivals it. And that I could even have lived with. But to stick this big extended teaser for part 2 in episode 13 is really frustrating. This, coupled with the fact that episode 10 felt like more of a climax, leaves me feeling like I've seen the first few episodes of season 2. Of course, that's fine if they actually make season 2. But that's looking basically impossible at this point. It's still a masterpiece but this drags it down to the lower end of the masterpiece spectrum.

Full Metal Panic! (TV) Decent

A nice balance of action, comedy and romance. I don't know that it was really exceptional, but a good example of what an all around fun and enjoyable anime should be.

Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid (TV) Not really good

It builds on the first series well but I think they may have tried to go too serious and dark with it. The original series, despite some more serious parts was overall a pretty lighthearted and fun. It was a lot more enjoyable that way. Trying to get really serious with it just kind of gives it a depressing feeling. Also, it makes the few moments of comic relief feel unfunny and out of place. I just don't know that this ever really had the capacity to be this serious. I mean, it's such a silly series to begin with. The entire premise, is ridiculous. To it's credit though the ending feels pretty dynamic and powerful. It brings a effective feeling of conclusion even in spite of the fact that the story is woefully incomplete.

Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu (TV) Weak

This show gets old quickly. Mind you, it still has its moments initially. The hot springs episode was particularly funny. Anything involving Bonta-kun was really just annoying though and the last episode was awful as well. I knew they were obviously building to something which meant it couldn't really be appreciated genuinely. However, it was gloomy enough that it really nullified the jokes and makes it hard to really enjoy them. For that matter there weren't even that many. It was a massive amount of set up for very few jokes.

Fullmetal Alchemist (TV) So-so

Why don't I like this show? I've wondered about this a lot. I can see a lot of the appeal I guess but it never really clicked for me for a few reasons. Firstly, I don't entirely care for the art style. There's some neat design choices but the underlying style is kinda ugly. All the characters have these very jagged, oddly proportioned faces. it doesn't really pick up until about half way through. Also, this show is far longer than it needs to be. I'm not opposed to longer shows in principle but boy is this show padded out with a lot of random shenanigans and meandering plot threads especially in the first half. It makes it a lot harder to get into. Also padding it out is a lot of pretty rank comic relief. It's really pretty bad. It's also compounded by the voice acting. I'm generally not too picky when it comes to voice acting but here I find it very off-putting. Edward's Japanese voice is far to squeaky and child-like and his English voice is really nasally and quite frankly annoying. I don't know. Again, I think there may certainly be the makings of a good show here. Just not one I can really get into.

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Movie - Conqueror of Shamballa So-so

Eh, I don't know. I was fairly indifferent to the series so I'm fairly indifferent to this.

Gala (movie) So-so

Really fantastic animation. However, it could also very much have benefited from a bit of back story or some kind of set-up.

Galilei Donna (TV) Weak

This show is an absolute train-wreck of execution. I mean, I initially liked a lot about it. I liked the characters and their relationship. Hozuki seems okay enough. And I like the other two sisters a lot. Anyone who isn't afraid to throat punch the chief of police is okay in my books. And an adult age, half the way to failure college student is an interesting archtype that you don't see in anime often. Plus, it's quite interesting to see a show about siblings who actually act like siblings and who come from a divorced family. Anime families are so often either absent entirely (with little thought to the repercussions) or hopelessly idealized. Unfortunately, all this gets pissed away very quickly. The parents get written out of the show almost immediately. We get a fairly nice couple episode arc centered around the middle sister. But after that there isn't really much going on in between the three or even with the older two on their own after that. The show basically becomes "the Hozuki show" despite her being the least interesting of the three. Also, the spotlight falls heavily on the ridiculously flat and over the top villain Roberto and then eventually on the sisters sidekick Anna who is secretly working for him (which we basically already knew) because she's madly in love with him...even though he's a literal psychopath who even she knows barely knows she exists. Yeah, I'm sorry but that does not really make her remotely sympathetic even if she is kinda trying to stop him from killing the sisters.

The alarming thing though is that this is actually the "better" side of the show writing-wise. The plot is nothing short of a disaster. It seems like ever episode somehow manages to top the previous one in terms of impossible coincidence and unbelievable occurrence. I mean, am I correct in understanding that this girl is basically just a normal little girl but is just such a super genius that she builds giant building sized mechs right under her parents noses? Hell, even putting aside having the intelligence to build it, the idea that this girl could build anything of that size on her own...I mean, just the sheer volume of metal you'd need. And the simple, manual labor involved in putting it all together. And believe it or not, this is just the tip of the iceberg. It actually gets far worse from here. Although I won't go into detail as that would take pages, lets just say that it all culminates in the show pull *spoiler* time travel right out of nowhere with like three episodes to go.

The ending is also almost historically bad. It feels a lot like the writers just came out of their little time travel side trip and literally only then realized that they had a single episode (and very little budget) to conclude their story. So they figured...eh, court scene I guess? At which point they proceed to tie up the story in the most unbelievably unsatisfying and ridiculous way imaginable. It's barely coherent, let alone logical. The big evil corporation bad guys end up coming off like they're completely incompetent. Their plan is basically to take a 12 year old, cute as a button little girl to open court and sell her as some super deviant criminal air pirate. (Although, the spectators are evidently just as dumb cause they're buying it). And it all falls apart for them when it turns out that the mom, who they apparently let work for them because she had amnesia, was just faking to gather evidence against them.

Also, Anna basically disappears. There's no resolution between her and the girls, nor was there any resolution or even elaboration on her relationship with Roberto. Oh and Roberto himself, who by all rights was the main villain here, not his father (who we barely see until now), does almost nothing. He has literally about 4 seconds of screen time. Oh and perhaps even more egregiously, we simply learn the tesaro (aka the thing that drives the whole [expletive] plot) was never completed and simply doesn't exist. We don't even really learn what the hell it was supposed to do either. And yet they did find time to resolve the least meaningful aspect of the show, the middle sister's crush who's name we don't even know. Lovely. But hey, it's okay because WE'RE ALL GOING TO JAPAN WHEEEEEEEE!!!!!!! *flies off into sunset* I can't believe I'm saying this but a flagrant "better hope for season 2" cliffhanger might actually have been better.

On the ever so slightly bright side this is a pretty solid show visually. I mean, sure, anything with CG mechs incurs an automatic penalty to watchability for me right out of the gate. And as usual, they're very over-designed and don't blend with the rest of the show. I guess if I want to be positive though I could say they look less bad than usual for anime. And the rest of the show looks pretty good. Nice, colorful, unique designs. Well directed enough. Nice music too. I especially like the OP. Pretty easy to forget all this though given the writing.

Gangsta. (TV) Not really good

This show is unquestionably not without its strengths. If it had just played to them consistently it would have been pretty good. When this show is content to be a slow-burning character and mood piece, it works quite well. It's got some very nice art design. The characters are relatively detailed and semi-realistic but with some nice exaggeration as well. I especially like Nicolas' perpetual scowl which seems to be built right into his very face. Great if understated music too that sets a very chill mood. The main characters are really what make this show work though. Worick and Nico perfectly toe the line between being pretty bad guys objectively speaking but being superficially likable and charismatic enough to still be quite appealing too. They've also got outstanding chemistry with one another and the show does a wonderful job of slowly revealing their backstories a little bit at a time. Alex is also the unexpected standout of the show. Though she may start as a bit more of an audience stand-in, she really develops into an interesting person in her own right a bit later. Anyway, if this was just the whole show it'd be great, and it is more or less throughout the first half or so. As it goes on though, the show delves more and more into its actual story and boy is it a mess. It's a huge, sprawling, convoluted tale of warring mob families and so called "Twilights" (people with superhuman abilities). Its disposable as a plot and as much as I like and care about the three main characters, their respective pasts, and their growing relationships, it's impossible to care about from a character perspective either. Of course, that's because it actually has very little to do with those characters. At best this is an excuse to spur them into action. It has little real character driven significance to any them though. Thus, initially it feels vestigial at best and, once it completely takes over the show later on, it becomes a downright chore to watch. It ends atrociously too by the way. Show that just kinda continue adapting material until they run out of episodes are bad to begin with. This one feels even worse though by virtue of finding the worst possible place to stop. It dumps an absolute mountain of new characters and plot points on the viewer all in the last few episodes, proceeds to do nothing whatsoever of real significance with most of it, yet lets it all kick around just long enough that it doesn't even feel like a cliffhanger/end of season #1 kind of thing, and then finally just kinda ends on the limpest note possible. Also I should mention, if you need a final nail in the coffin, that as an action show Gangsta is completely lifeless. The music has little to offer when it comes to anything more upbeat and the animation is brutal. Fights are a dull slog and that's to say nothing of how the art quality drops off completely as soon as excessive movement is called for. Again, all this is disappointing because there is something here. Especially in the back half though it gets absolutely buried underneath a whole lot of crap.

Garo the Animation (TV) Very good

This show makes me frustrated a bit. Visually, it's almost really good. Decent enough production values on the traditional animation. Some very nice composition and cinematography as well. Excellent art style and character designs. They've got this lanky, flat, minimalistic look, and a nice subdued color scheme that works quite well. But then there's the CG. It's not even the worst I've seen in anime. (It's hardly the best either mind you.) But my god does it ever look out of place. Overly busy, shiny, hyper-reflective armors. I just...why? It's the absolute opposite of the rest of the show. It's truly unbelievable how out of place it looks and how much it breaks the aesthetic. And it means that, for whatever this show does well, I can't help but think how amazing it could have been if they'd done the whole thing in traditional animation. Or hell, even just showed some sense of restraint with the CG designs. Anyway, this show also takes a while to get going. I enjoy the medieval setting but the world building is a bit clumsy and suffers from some dull narration and exposition initially. The episodic stories that make up roughly the first 3rd mostly fall fairly flat as well. They're passable and generally manage to be fun, not too grim adventures with some nice bouts of humor which is rather important given the overall darkness of the world. Still, they mostly just serve to set the stage for the future without really diving into developing the characters. I'm rather inclined to say this is worth it though. Once this show does get going, boy it is ever good. Moreover, its nuanced, well rounded characters are precisely what makes it tick. Things really explode approaching the midway point and a lot of what the show has previously hinted at comes boiling to the surface. Even after that, it never really gets super plot heavy but it manages to stay totally engrossing just on the strength of the writing alone. Very impressive stuff. In the end, this may be a flawed show but its very good all the same.

Gatchaman Crowds (TV) Decent

This is a strange, strange show. Hajime is a curious character. She probably wouldn't work in any other show. She's completely in her own little world and does a lot of things that defy all logic. And yet it a show this weird it kinda seems appropriate. And you can't really argue with the results she seems to achieve. She might actually be a mad genius. The plot is equally if not more bizarre. At first the show is about a secret hero team fighting weird alien cubes. Except in literally the first battle Hajime befriends the cube and now they're harmless so now they just run around doing good via the power of social media. Yeah, go figure. They play around with some very interesting, if not perhaps ideally realized (the show seems hopelessly naive), ideas about the possibilities of internet connectivity and crowd collaboration. Honestly, it feels kinda like somebody had some kind of really off the wall idea for a scifi show. But they were supposed to be making a Gatchaman show so they just kinda awkwardly jammed their idea in over top of that. Not that the result is horrible by any means. It's just really really odd and unfocused that feels like it goes increasingly off the rails in the latter half. Still, it's reasonably enjoyable. And visually, it is quite nice. The whole show from top to bottom is just vibrant. Everything is colorful and bright. It really is a lot of fun just to look at. I even don't mind the CG. In a show this vibrant, it doesn't actually look as out of place. I mean...it's still all super over-designed and way too busy but you could definitely do worse.

Genius Party (movie) Good

Pretty cool. It's more a music video than anything else. Despite this, it's rather captivating to watch.

Ghost Hound (TV) Good

A ponderous, wandering exploration into the strange and tangential world of fringe psychology, supernatural pseudo-science, and more. The final result is a bit mixed. It's a good show, if nothing else on the strength of its strong atmosphere, nice visual style, and exemplary sound design. Although really the story is still pretty good too in its own right. As much as the plot may ramble, the story is ultimately rooted in some pretty solid character writing that carries it well enough. It's just not as compelling as it could have been with a little more focus. Still, definitely something worth checking out.

Ghost in the Shell (movie) Masterpiece

This is my single favorite anime movie. Beautiful art, character designs, settings and animation. The whole thing just looks great. It raises some very interesting questions regarding technology and humanity. What truly makes it great is the presentation and execution though. A lot anime with philosophical themes take things too far and resort to beating you over the head with it. In fact, in general they tend too often to feel fractured. Random bits of meaningless action mixed aimlessly with random bits of philosophical discussion. However, here it is so very well integrated. Both those aspects are perfectly intertwined. Both parts of one whole. That's what makes Ghost in the Shell a masterpiece.

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (movie) Weak

The first Ghost in the Shell was great because its themes were accessible but still relatively subtle and were build so well into the larger movie. Innocence unfortunately is the exact opposite. In no way does this movie function as a whole. The characters run around a bit and do plot things or maybe a few random crazy action scenes. Then they stop and pretty much literally just stand around discussing philosophy and stuff for a while without even a shred of subtlety. Finally we just sorta sit and watch big chunks of pointless CGI for it's own sake. It all adds up to an incredibly tedious and pretentious film.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (TV) Excellent

I liked this a lot more the second time I saw it. I think I followed it much better. The first time it was on TV so it was more spaced out. It's a very good balance between excellent action sequences, police drama, and a little psychological/philosophical discussion. That last one probably isn't as well intertwined as it could be though. The plot was still fairly well paced, bringing up the Laughing Man frequently enough that you didn't just seem like a sub-plot but at the same time it still worked as a episodic anime so the many unrelated episodes didn't feel like filler. In fact, those episodes were actually often better than the earlier laughing man ones. Of course it also looks just amazing. Probably the best looking TV series I've ever seen. The character designs are great. They've got a very detailed and realistic look but that the same time in a somewhat stylized way.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG (TV) Masterpiece

Ah, its watching this that I remember why I got into anime in the first place. The first half or so is very good as it is but once it hits the half way point it really takes it to the masterpiece level. There is a heavier focus on the central plot and that plot is a little less abstract compared to the first season and while it was still highly enjoyable, this gives the second season much more of an impact. The music is a huge boost and overall, the series creates a great atmosphere. It's also great to see the setting and state of the world developed as well as some of the secondary members of section 9.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society (movie) So-so

Okay, right off the bat I should mention that this maintains the same level of excellence in art and animation that I've come to expect from GitS. The music is also fabulous. The story is effective and the ending in particular is quite well done. That said, there were some problems here. In spite of the parts all being there, they aren't really put together that well. There are some major execution issues. The pace is rather sluggish. Traditionally SAC has been known to be what some might call a little dry. That isn't entirely the problem here. It is actually a lot of the more action oriented scenes that have trouble. There are several points where the music, while excellent, isn't quite appropriate and doesn't quite set the right mood. A lot of these scenes also feel rather flat dramatically. The movie never really manages to build any momentum. It just sort of chugs along and along and eventually you end up at the end. One definite upside was the ending itself though. The last 15 minutes or so are really quite effective.

(The) Girl Who Leapt Through Time (movie) Decent

This is a perfectly serviceable movie for the most part. It's fun and energetic and the characters are pretty likable and have a lot of chemistry together. It looks pretty nice too. Nothing especially memorable in terms of design but the animation is pretty slick. Anime (even movies) tend to avoid extraneous movement for obvious budget reasons but this movie is absolutely packed with movement. Even during simple conversations the characters are usually tossing a baseball around or something. It's nice. In the end though, there's just not really enough about this movie to elevate it beyond a decent, middle of the road production. And in fact, there are some flaws that drag it down a bit. The biggest such flaw is surely the ending. It's pretty convoluted. I mean the first two thirds of the movie are pretty down to earth. They mostly seem to take a "just go with it" approach to the movie's premise. But then they reveal that Chiaki is also a time traveler, and from far in the future no less. This raises far more questions than the movie seems to have any intention of answering. Especially when complications arise. First he's apparently stuck in the past but then he just vanishes apparently because he broke the rules by revealing his secret. So...wait. Is there like some sort of time travel authority that monitors time travelers? Like I said, this just raises so many questions.

Goku: Midnight Eye (OAV) Bad

I've seen a lot of Kawajiri anime. Not every one has been brilliant or even good but I'd never seen one I outright disliked until now. I think the reason for that is that his work is never boring. It may have problems but despite them, it's still fun to watch. Goku however, is just so dull. It starts as a moderately effective if also cliched action movie story: Ex cop's old partner is killed and so he takes the law into his own hands and goes after the criminal responsible. However things are derailed mid way through.

After nearly being killed Goku is saved by a mysterious person we never actually meet who replaces his eye with a supercomputer that can control every other computer on earth. As the movie pretty much states: This being the future where everything is computer controlled, he is pretty much a god. So okay, of course this is completely absurd. Fine. I can handle that. The real problem is that Goku is now so powerful that there's essentially no conflict. Nobody poses any threat to him. To begin with, things were a bit needlessly drawn out but after this, any shred of tension goes out of the story. It becomes utterly boring.

Golgo 13: The Professional (movie) Good

In a lot of ways this isn't a particularly good movie. Golgo is a terribly uninteresting character. Neither are any of the supporting players or villains either save maybe one neat twist at the end. The plot is a mess of spurious threads that regularly fail to really go anywhere. The second act in particular, when things slow down, is definitely a bit of a slog. But boy...does it ever make up for it on the sheer strength of composition throughout the rest of the movie. So many absolutely fantastic shots and sequences. Not to mention a wicked sound track used to incredible effect in a few scenes. For whatever failures in writing, this is easily a movie worth watching just to let the visuals and action sequences wash over you.

Gundam: Mission to the Rise (special)

I'm not actually sure if I've seen this or not. If it is in fact only 3 minutes long then I have. It really looks like it's just a trailer for an upcoming project. In any case there's nothing noteworthy about it.

Happy Machine (movie) Decent

A neat little piece. It's experimental visuals are a lot of fun to watch and the surreal story is oddly compelling.

Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto (TV) Decent

I'm really glad I stuck with this show. It isn't always laugh out loud funny. In fact, it has a tendency to sometimes take a long time to set up a punchline that's not quite worth it. It's definitely at its comedic best when it delivers simpler, more rapid fire jokes. Still, even the slower parts have some merit. There are more than a few episodes with genuinely enjoyable stories. It's all pure, over the top silliness of course. But I think, by tacitly acknowledging the silliness of the story tropes it uses, Sakamoto actually manages to carry them off with a lot more emotional resonance than shows that take them more seriously.

Hellsing (TV) Very good

Hellsing is something of an under-appreciated gem in my opinion. It is undeniably a very uneven production with it's share of problems but what it does well is truly spectacular. The series creates such an incredible atmosphere. From it's opening and music to it's stylized look to it's absolutely insane characters. It sets this mood that's not so much scary, nor should it be, but really mind bendingly bizzare. It's just such an over the top, utterly psychotic affair. This is were I really like Seras who is a very nice, normal, person and all of a sudden she is thrown into all this insanity. Of course, Alucard serves as the other side to this coin. Badass doesn't begin to describe him. He's beyond that. He's so powerful and indestructible that he's almost apathetic towards what's going on. It's just a game, not a real threat. He's truly a monster. Both of these characters are enhanced by excellent dub performances as well. It's a shame with Hellsing though. It's great in spite of it's lack of an ending. Technically Hellsing does have a conclusion, but it's such an absurdly incomplete one that resolves almost none of the plot. Despite that though, it's still a lot of fun and makes for a fairly climactic final battle.

Higan (OAV) Not really good

Kinda neat but it despite the twist, it's really just a few minutes of pointless mecha fights.

Highlander: The Search for Vengeance (movie) So-so

What can I say? It's an action movie. The plot isn't strong. The whole immortal concept and the flashbacks to the past made things interesting though. The characters were pretty one dimensional. It is a reasonably successful action movie though. The whole movie looked great and these were definitely some of the coolest sword fights I've seen in a while. That was about it though.

Hourou Musuko (TV) Good

I like this show. It's a very nice, intelligently handled and heartfelt story. I definitely enjoyed it, especially during the middle portion when it seemed to find its groove. At the same time, I definitely came away feeling like it wasn't a very well structured story. It can be tricky getting a handle on this show initially. The cast is pretty big and it starts very much in the middle of things. Some of the characters' history with each other could be a little more clearly explained. They also make a rather questionable choice of having both a Chiba and a Chi, the latter of which has a habit of talking in the 3rd person. Some of the plot lines from later on don't quite click either. They set up some nice tension for a conclusion with Nitori coming to school dressed as a girl. But then they immediately diffuse it by speeding through quite a bit of time quickly. Then for some reason they do another play which just feels like a retread. Also, Doi who becomes a major focus late in the show, is a bit of an enigma, and one that's never really explained. The show is definitely at its best when it is focusing on the trifecta of Nitori, Takatsuki and Chiba. Their relationship is really well handled and carries the show through its best parts. Unfortunately, some of the other side plots don't quite hold up as well. Still a pretty good show overall though.

House of Five Leaves (TV) Excellent

I have a tough time describing what I like so much about this show. It's a mystery essentially but not the kind that tries to grab you by throwing a bunch of big, dramatic questions at you. The opposite in fact. It has this calm, placid mood. On the surface, very little is going on. Yet, right from the start you can just feel that there's so much going on below the surface. That's what makes it so captivating to watch as they slowly pull back the curtain and reveal to you who these characters are and how they relate to each other.

Interlude (OAV) So-so

The show definitely falls victim to a lot of terrible high school comedy cliches. It actually works moderately well though thanks large in part to a very over the top dub that borders on parody at times. It still keeps things in check enough that the more serious parts work fine but also paints the more absurd moments with exactly the kind of over the top silliness they deserve. For instance, while Tama may be a bit irritating at times, she's so over the top with her cutesy, and childish mannerisms. Rather than play this straight, they seem to recognize that this is pretty absurd and treat it as such. Her behavior is acknowledged as annoying by her friends. The three office girls are also tolerable (although I couldn't help but be bothered by how utterly pointless they are to the story). The story manages to put together a moderately interesting mystery initially. The pace really drags in the middle though as they make the somewhat bothersome choice to not really reveal anything substantial until the final episode. The ending has it's ups and downs. The resolution between Tama and the main character is well done. In fact, it's really rather touching. They never really manage to tie the rest of it together though. There's a lot of places where it seems like the exposition ought to be a lot more clear and a lot of elements that don't really ever fit together. It seems like a lot is justified by talk of fractured realities which is tough to reconcile with the ending in which the main character returns to reality and things seem post apocalyptic but otherwise okay. I can see the benefit of the Pandora project in such a world but not the necessity and neither in regards to his 'little sister's' role. I'm a bit confused as to what exactly Ikuo was too. Is she...real or just symbolic? What happens with her in the end? There's a whole lot of other characters who never really fall into place either. Ultimately, this is a show with some interesting ideas but it never really manages to present a lot of them coherently making it a mixed bag. It's not devoid of reasons to watch but not what I would call a success either.

Inuyasha (TV) Not really good

Overall this series is pretty bad. No question there. However, I would actually give the first season or two a good rating. So many of the problems with it weren't really a problem initially. The largest problem in the later parts is how the plot and characters absolutely cease to develop and the whole series enters a stagnant, filler-esque status quo. Everything just sort of falls into this blandly pleasant mood and meanders aimlessly and finally ends without resolving a thing. Initially though, while there was always plenty of demon of the week episodes there was a lot that actually developed the plot as well. Naraku and Sesshomarru are pretty effective villains (or at least they were before they went into hiding/became fangirl bait.) Also, while the series always had romantic elements and some comic relief, it generally had a much grittier feeling more appropriate for it's feudal/demon-infested setting which was in itself quite cool and also made the romance seem more genuine and the comedy seem like actual relief instead of just endless goofiness. Another thing I really enjoyed initially as well was the artwork, particularly the depictions of the various demons. Later in the series though it shifted to a much more 'shiny' and generic style. Of course it helps a lot too that while many of the elements that were retread over and over later where in fact there from the beginning, they're a lot more fun for the first time.

Jin-Roh - The Wolf Brigade (movie) Masterpiece

For starters, this is a beautiful looking movie. The art and animation are absolutely top notch. I love the more conservative, realistic art style so commonly found in movies Oshii is involved in. The action sequences are brutally intense. However, they really aren't the focus. What drives this movie is it's extremely well developed characters and intriguing plot.

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (TV) So-so

Once you get past the novelty factor of this show being super retro and basically the antithesis of what usually gets produced today...eh. It's moderately fun I guess and rather addictive in the way only shounen anime can be. But otherwise this is actually not all that good. The plot is absurd and overwrought, and guilty of constant ass pulls. The characters are ridiculous and not really all that compelling, and frankly rather unlikable. Especially the second incarnation of JoJo who is just kinda a tool. And the battles, while somewhat fun, are really super gimmicky. I mean look, don't get me wrong. I don't dislike this show. It's fine for what it is. Worth watching. It's just not really anything worth writing home about.

Joker Game (TV) Good

I really like a lot of things about this show. It looks outstanding. The art style is restrained and clean but highly detailed as well and I love the period costume designs. The writing is very tight as well. The episodes are always suitably tense and well-paced. At the end of the day I just kinda wish there was more to this show. It's at its best when it actually has some substance to back up its style. And to its credit, it often does serve as a pretty biting critique of Imperial Japan. There are a lot of episodes (especially around the middle) that are largely fluff though. Add to that the near complete lack of continuity or even one-off characterization and this show is left somewhere in the realm of good but ultimately a bit forgettable.

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (TV) Very good
Kai Doh Maru (OAV) Bad

This is perhaps the only anime I've seen that is physically tough to watch. The whole thing looks like it's been run through some kind of horrible, washed out, foggy filter. Not only does this make is slightly hard to see what's happening, it's actually downright hard on the eyes. I had a mild headache after watching it. It's a shame too because the art style would be quite nice if they would just turn off the bloody fog machine. It's all done in a style slightly reminiscent of traditional Japanese paintings. It has a nice level of detail while at the same time maintaining a smooth and soft appearance. The plot is virtually incomprehensible. Especially as things progress, I found myself completely at a loss for what was going on. The ending is very flat and unsatisfying as well.

Kaiba (TV) Very good

What a neat show. I love the art style and I love what it let's them do animation wise. There's some really cool moving chase sequences here that are really great. The whole art design is great. The little mini-planets, the mind portals. It's all very cool. It's not just the visuals though. The show tells a very neat story too with a lot of heart. That said, this show can often be unnecessarily incoherent. I mean, I like that elements of the show are rather abstract and never over explained but I definitely think they could have told the exact same story but been clearer about some parts. Like, they never really clarify where exactly Hyu-hyu came from until the very end and it would have made a lot more sense to clarify that the [spoiler] fake Warp[/spoiler] was different from Kaiba sooner.

Kaiji (TV) Very good

Oh my god this show is addictive. I've never been one for marathoning shows. Even my all time favourites I watched over the course of a few weeks. Kaiji I watched in two nights. This show is just so tremendously gripping that it leaves you dying for more at the end of each episode. The first arc is especially good. I'm a sucker for logic, puzzles and games and it's just so neat to watch the endless twists and turns of strategy that arise. That said, it does lag a bit in the middle arc. While it's still entertaining to listen to the show's moral and philosophical ramblings as Kaiji is pushed to his limit, there isn't much in the way of strategy involved in the beam crossing. It definitely loses something compared to the first arc. The third arc gets back on track though and while it's never quite as strong as the first, it's really excellent as well. All that said, I have to seriously take issue with one thing in Kaiji: The narration. It's just fucking terrible. This endless, stuffy, droning narration just goes on and on and it's not even necessary. It mostly only serves to beat you over the head with information that any half wit can gather on their own and often even simply restates what you are literally seeing on screen at that very moment. It definitely detracts from the show.

(The) Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior (TV) Decent

Look, it has to be said: About a 3rd of this show is the typical anime comedy garbage. Ayaka gropes people. Mayumi gets drunk and beats up the guys. Everyone overreacts, blushes and is very loud and frantic which is apparently funny. It's not particularly painful or unpleasant but if you're like me you're gonna spend some time sitting there like "Yup. Okay. Let's just sit quietly for a minute while they get this over with." But here's the thing: It's totally worth it. The rest of this show is really strong. For starters, it's pretty funny sometimes. Kinosaki, the pervert, is actually hilarious most of the time. And he never does any of the awful sex offender stuff you see out of such characters normally. And Ritsu is adorable without trying too hard to be (which is usually what stops most characters from being adorable). The neat thing though is that Ritsu is also an extremely well written character. Shy characters in anime tend to be terrible. Usually shy means ridiculously shy little moe girl who can barely speak. But she comes across as believably awkward. She's not like, impossibly shy. She's just really quiet and mumbly and disengaged with other people. She act like, rather true to life I think, she simply isn't sure what's expected of her or how to proceed in social situations. She's actually one of the most believably written introverted characters I've seen. And the show hits the perfect balance in understanding her desire to connect with people sometimes but without falling into the trap of treating her introverted nature like something that Usa needs to fix so she can be a proper, normal person. She just likes to be alone sometimes and that's okay. But that doesn't mean she wants to be alone all the time. I like Usa too...as a character anyway. As a person Usa is a bit of a tool at times. But the show knows it which is what makes him interesting. And he usually does learn and grow through his interactions with Ritsu. It's neat to see him grow closer to her as he also moves away from being that obnoxious teenage loser who has completely fallen in love with this idealized version of a girl he doesn't even know and starts treating her more like another person.

Kemonozume (TV) Good

Kemonozume is a very frustrating series. Not because it's bad but because so many of the well done aspects are marred by it's incoherency and inability to form an understandable narrative. It's not even so much the various surreal moments. It's the constant minor gaps in proper storytelling that leave you regularly confused and wondering why something is happening or how a character ended up where he is or why exactly he's suddenly doing what he's doing. Again it's a shame because the raw material which the series never quite manages to present properly seems quite well done. I really enjoy the moody, jazzy feeling the series has. The music is great and really helps establish this. The OP in particular definitely stands out to me. While the action scenes are fairly stylish and effective it should be noted that this is not really an action series. First and foremost it focuses on the relationships between the characters. This is where it stands out the most. The love at first sight between two main characters is actually really well done and feels quite genuine. As does their subsequent relationship which feels quite real despite it's rather fantastical problems (read: one character transforms into a monster on occasion). The rest of the cast are also quite well developed in their motivations and relationships with one another.

A major point of complaint though is the main villain Ohba who's only apparent motivation is being bat-shit insane. I should clarify though that while the term 'insane' gets tossed around a lot in reference to villains but here I really truly mean it. It's especially problematic in that he is originally one of the good guys and the reason for his departure into madness is never really addressed. Also though, as the series moves towards it's end and his villainy is increasingly revealed it ups the 'huh?' factor of the plot a great deal. You see, nothing he does makes sense. He's sporadic and unpredictable and we never really get much of a clear idea what specifically he's trying to accomplish with a number of his actions. Again, it's this coupled with other incoherency in the plot that make this a frustrating series to try and follow and often leaves you scratching your head.

The last thing that bears addressing is the heavily stylized art style which, much like the rest of the series, is a mixed bag. Perhaps due to the presumably lower budget of this TV series as opposed to that of the director's other movie works which are done in a similar style things look significantly sloppier. The art is often so extremely simplistic and scratchy and often this simply looks bad. That said, there are plenty of moments here where using this kind of unique style looks fantastic when it's drawn with a bit of restraint and consistency. It seems like the bulk of the time though they are either trying a bit too hard to give it an abstract, sketchy look or have simply throw quality control out the window.

Kick-Heart (movie) Good

Definitely something I enjoyed. It's a fun little story with a good sense of humor. Definitely had me laughing out loud a few times. And it looks great. Lots of nice, dynamic motion and a great art style. Fairly reminiscent of Yuasa's usual style in all its avant garde exaggeration. But while I usually find his execution a bit too sketchy and rough, it seems just a little more in control here. The line work tends to be thicker and more pronounced and a little more deliberate. It's a nice balance. It also gives the film's very vibrant and blocky colors more room to shine. Good stuff.

Kid's Story (OAV) So-so

I like the art style. It would have looked better with a softer background instead of just using it for the character though. There's nothing particularly memorable about this segment otherwise but it's competent all around.

Kill Bill Chapter 3: The Origin of O-Ren (movie segment) Good

Now the high rating here comes with a little note. Obviously this is only a partial segment of a movie. As such, it doesn't really put it up there with full length features that I rate the same. That said, this is arguably one of my all time favorite animated action sequences. It's beautifully animated, dripping in style (and blood), plus it has some pretty good music to boot. My only complaint lies in the artwork. The character designs look great but I think cleaner, smoother lines would have looked better than the sort of scratchy art used (particularly during the first part).

Kill la Kill (TV) So-so

Look, I don't really mind fanservice in itself. I don't think there's anything inherently offensive about it. It's biggest crime is usually just that it is really dumb and you could even get away with that here since this is such a goofy, over the top show to begin with. What I cannot abide though is the way the show goes about its fanservice. Ryuuko, an otherwise very strong female character, is forced (literally, in a scene with some seriously rape overtones) into this absurdly skimpy outfit that enhances her fighting ability. And even that might be okay if she just took it in stride and didn't really seem to mind. But no, the show seems to revel in her humiliation as she repeatedly expresses her embarrassment and discomfort over wearing it. It's really disgusting. And on top of all that, she seems to regularly find herself stripped or waking up naked for one reason or another. And the show just loves to joke about guys peeping at her and piles on a ton of rape innuendo. Of course, it's always played for a "hur hur, he's actually not raping her/going to rape her we just made it look like he was. Isn't that hilarious" gag but it's still really skeevy and really I think speaks to the mindset of the creators of the show.

Now, I will admit, there are some interesting theories about what this show is trying to do symbolically with the whole skimpy outfit and I must admit there is something to that. Ryuuko has this outfit forced on her and that causes her to feel embarrassed and ashamed. As Satsuki eventually tells her though, why should she? She can't control how people choose to see her. So why should she care how the small-minded masses see her? She is powerful and what they think only matter if she lets it. The outfit is a metaphor for the way men look at women as nothing but sexual objects. And the point is that women shouldn't let how such people choose to view them bother them. Thus in a sense, it's actually a pretty positive message about women being comfortable with their bodies and being empowered in their sexuality or so the theory goes. Except...I just don't feel like there's an ounce of sincerity to that message. I mean, I get that it can be difficult to talk about objectification without showing any of it. But the show could at least bloody try. But no, to the contrary, it absolutely wallows in it. It takes every possible opportunity to not just convey that Ryuuko is being objectified by the other characters but to also sexualize her to you the viewer (and yes, there most certainly is a difference).

Hence, I ultimately, can't help but follow whatever seemingly positive message this show puts forth with: And THAT'S why it's actually super okay for this show to be some the most flagrantly male-gazing, female objectifying material out there! In fact, it's not just okay. You're actually being progressive when you ogle Ryuuko's bouncing bare breasts and stare at the super detailed close ups of Ryuuko's crotch and...yeesh. Do you see the problem here? It's precisely those leering "small minded" men the show tells you you to whom this show is overwhelmingly pandering to. The people saying "don't be embarrassed about jumping around in a super skimpy outfit" are the very guys who have a self-serving interesting in seeing women do that for their own pleasure. So no. In the end, I see this as not a genuine positive message about women dealing with objectification and more a self-serving facade, or apologism for the creeps who would reduce women to sexual objects. And not only does that make me disregard the supposed metaphor justification for Ryuuko's humiliation, it's feigned positivity is in itself highly unpleasant.

Anyway...putting aside the giant clusterfuck discussion about gender issues...eh. This show is not actually very good initially either. It's okay I suppose. I mean, I can't in fairness call this a dull show. And there are a few things I like. Mako is quite funny. But there's nothing overwhelmingly appealing about the characters or the story. The writing is not really impressive in any way and the plot is fairly episodic to start. And the humor is more loud and frantic than it is actually funny (Mako being the exception). And for a show that sells itself largely on its visuals this show doesn't actually look very good. The animation is extremely cheap. There are an overwhelming amount of shortcuts. A lot of deformed art which seems like less of a stylistic choice and more just an excuse for cheaper, quicker creation. And there's little to no actual choreographed action. The fights are 90% pans over still frames or super speed blurs. And even when they're not doing that the motion is so frantic that it is hard to follow. They do manage to pull together the occasional nice sequence but it is always the exception rather than the rule. Its pretty clearly a case of dumping all their money into one little bit and then stringing the rest of the show together on spare change.

All that said, the show does get markedly better as it goes on. All that skeevy crap I talked about more or less disappears entirely by the time we move into the naturals election arc. I mean, the costumes are still as fanservicey as ever and its still off-putting given the association. But is is nowhere near the active detriment it was initially. And perhaps more importantly, the rest of the show gets a lot better as well. The fights feel bigger and a lot more meaningful. There's more at stake and they're actually against characters who have a personality and will be back next episode. As such, they involve more complex abilities and tactics, and counter-strategies from Ryuuko in response. We break from the club leader of the week formula and by the end, there's a bit going on in terms of plot and there have even been a couple attempts (albeit some more successful than others) to slow things down and develop a little bit of depth for the characters. And the campus raid arc is even better. Huge, sprawling battles that just keep throwing more and more craziness at the viewer every minute. And then the sports festival outdoes THAT in terms of fantastic battle sequences. Although, I'm still basically getting by on style and action alone. The plot is fun but only in a ridiculous and goofy "don't take it too seriously" kinda way. And the characterization is fairly simple. And I'm sorry to say, the show seems to have returned to its skeevy roots with multiple molestation scenes. Disappointing. I don't know. I guess, in a nutshell, I really wish the good aspects of this show were in another, better overall show free of the problems that put me off this show.

Kino's Journey (TV) Good

Visually this show is a mixed bag. Kino herself has a very angular, big eyed, classic "anime" look that I'm not a big fan of and that doesn't entirely mesh with the rest of the show. And otherwise, the visual aesthetic is very plain, neither stylized nor overly detailed. The color scheme is very grey/brown and drab for my tastes too. It all adds up to a fairly bleak show that despite the odd nice moment isn't much to look at. What this show may lack visually it seems to make up for in terms of writing though. The premise is essentially Kino traveling from one little city-state to another. But that really selling the show short. It's more like a (somewhat more down to earth) Twilight Zone. Most of the story scenarios are these really cool, high concept ideas. It's pretty neat stuff.

Kizuna Ichigeki (movie) Good

Humorously absurd, with some rather funny dialogue, as well as strong music and some pretty nice martial arts action sequences. Maybe not as good as the best of Anime Mirai but definitely one of the more fun entries.

Knight of the Iron Dragon (OAV) Bad

As with episode 2 of this collection, the awful character designs make it tough to take this seriously. The dialogue is very poorly written as well. The second episode was at least still somewhat enjoyable but this is just weak.

Kurozuka (TV) Decent

A very mixed bag but overall something worth watching. Initially the plot is incredibly difficult to follow. Especially with the rather drastic jumps between the first few episodes I found myself rather lost as to what exactly was going on. Things improve as the story finds a consistent focus and time period after a few episodes but never ultimately achieves much coherence. Despite its frequently disorienting and incoherent nature though it's a pretty well paced story which was enough too keep me moderately entertained and intrigued. It's a very stylish and atmospheric show as well which is where it really stands out. The stylized character designs are rather nice if also occasionally weirdly anorexic. The animation is average for the most part but they really step it up during the fight scenes which are really quite impressive for a TV series. With a fast pace and a great deal of intensity as well, the fights are definitely the best part of the series. If you're looking for something clear and concise then this show is not for you. If however you're willing to just kind of sit back, not get too hung up in the plot and watch something cool and stylish then you may find this show rather neat.

Kyousougiga (TV) So-so

There are really two halves to this show. In regards to the first half, its more or less a lot of fairly episodic tales of the wacky goings on in looking glass city. And it's certainly colorful and energetic and zany but when you strip away the flash and noise is it actually all that interesting? Not really. You could do worse. But this part of the show is pretty forgettable. The second half is far more interesting if also far more problematic. All kinds of crazy stuff starts going on. The show operates on a massive, cosmic scale that's pretty cool. And it's definitely one of the most unique worlds I've seen in a show in a while. At the same time though, it never really manages to firm up how it all works. The show displays little interest in or aptitude for world building. As a result, I never felt like I really understood the logic of the scenario at all. And that leads to a lot of problems understanding not just the plot but the characters as well. Their motivations and goals don't really make sense to me. Like, a whole lot of the show seems to be centered around them searching for their parents who've gone away. But it's never really clear where they've gone or why, nor does anyone seem to particularly ask these questions. Then, in episode 8, things get really serious which is weird because I thought it was pretty firmly established that nobody could die in this world. And the priest guys show up and start causing trouble, but again I don't really get who they are or what they or their organization does. We've briefly seen them around but that's about it. And then a character just straight up reveals that he's God. And that leads to a bunch of even crazier events. Ah, I don't know. On the one hand, I could barely make sense of this show. The last few episodes especially. At the same time, it was kinda cool. I guess...I guess I wouldn't say I consider this a particularly good show all things considered. But it does have a number of cool elements kicking around even if they're not very effectively realized.

Labyrinth (movie) So-so
See Neo-Tokyo
Ladius (OAV)

I haven't the foggiest idea why I saw this. I don't even remember deciding to see it. It just seemed to turn up on my hard drive with a bunch of other old obscure stuff I wanted to see. It's not good.

(The) Legend of Black Heaven (TV) Decent

Well, the first thing that needs to be said is that this show has great music. Not just the hard rock stuff either. Even the more ambient background music is really great. And the character designs are pretty nice as well. Very thinly lined and detailed but still very clean as well. The writing is also at pretty good, although I think I prefer this show as a drama than as a comedy. The humor is alright. It has a few legitimately great moments and is generally at least nicely understated. It's just a little hit and miss. The more serious dramatic stuff on the other hand is pretty well done. Oji's conflict between his responsibilities and the life he's left behind as well as his believably troubled relationship with his wife is written with a tremendous amount of nuance. Too bad the CG during the space battles is such absolute bottom of the barrel stuff. I mean, those scenes are all very functional anyway so it isn't a big deal. But boy does it look brutal.

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: My Conquest is the Sea of Stars (movie) Decent

Neat. I find that's the best word to describe this. It sort of takes the concept of 'space opera' almost literally. It generally moves along at a snail's pace but at the same time it's oddly intriguing. I found myself quite captivated. A few aspects of the battles could be a little more clear (For instance, what was the point of all that business with the wind when he just destroyed them by other means instead, or what happened at the end with Yang. He's creating a diversion and being chased by several ships but then he just appears out of nowhere back in the battle). In spite of these inconsistencies though, this is still quite an absorbing piece. I look forward to seeing the OVA/TV series.

Level E (TV) So-so

I don't know. This seems like a show with the potential to be quite good. It's pretty funny when it tries to be. It's got a nice, rapid fire, back and forth style. It just that this show gets way, way too bogged down in trying to actually tell a semi-serious story though. It never really succeeds in this regard for various reasons. The stories usually end up being either too rushed, simply bland and uninteresting or fail due to the inherent silliness of the world and characters that make up their foundation. In turn though, this insistence on forcing a fair bit of plot down your throat ends up disrupting the comedy a lot too because they're so busy trying to cover all their plot points. There's a whole lot of dull exposition used to set up and/or wrap up the various stories and of course, we go through this every couple episodes due to the structure of the series. It's not enough to ruin the series exactly but at best it leaves the series as an extremely mixed bag. There are episodes were it manages to get going and can be really quite funny but there are probably more episodes that are actually quite boring too.

Lily C.A.T. (OAV) Decent

A pretty solid little piece. Gets what it needs to done to be a decent little suspense thriller. Some cool, gory visuals.

Limit Cycle (movie) Worst ever

Pretentious bullshit, impenetrable and incomprehensible to the point it all just becomes noise.

Little Witch Academia (movie) Very good

Absolutely gorgeous visuals. Super high production values and just fantastic, colorful, detailed, all around vibrant art design. Fun, frantic and super dynamic action. Likable cast. Sucy is awesome. Clever conflict between the flashy "Shiny Chariot" stage magic and the "real" magic. I just wish it were a little longer. The whole "explore the dungeon because it's a test or something" thing seems like a pretty contrived excuse to jump from them attending school to them fighting monsters.

Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (movie) Excellent

Tremendously fun movie. Looks great. The animation isn't even particularly impressive in terms of sheer fluidity or detail at least relative to Miyazaki's later works. It's more a matter of how they use it. Every scene feels kinetic and alive thanks to all the little touches. Beautifully directed and composed too. The backgrounds are especially gorgeous. Music is perfect also. Some great, bombastic and jazzy pieces for the action sequences but some really memorable somber ones too. (The theme from the opening credits is especially beautiful.) It gives the movie just enough of a contemplative side to make it feel like more than a mere action/adventure. Although, admittedly that is still essentially what this is. Still, it is a pretty damn fun and well done adventure. Breezy pace. Entertaining and charismatic characters. Very enjoyable stuff.

Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine (TV) Excellent (dub & sub)

Man, this show is just so visually avant garde. I love it. I could do without the wonky shading but otherwise it looks just great. Very stylish animation. The music is very moody but also energetic. The plots through the first 2/3rds of the series are a mixed bag though. They're generally pretty crazy although that's not the end of the world. It kinda works since this is such an out there show to begin with. A few of them (especially episode 4) get downright incoherent though. What really brings this show home is the last 5 episodes though. Up until that point it is a stylish if also totally unfocused and inconsistent show that's basically fun and entertaining but not so much more. But boy does the end knock it out of the park. I'm not gonna go into spoilers but suffice to say it goes to some really rewarding places and pulls off some extremely cool twists that work really well thematically as well as plot-wise. It really undermines expectations in a very neat way.

Lupin the Third (TV 2015) Excellent
Lupin the Third: Jigen's Gravestone (movie) Good

This isn't the most substantial movie but it's an excellent action/thriller. It looks great. The art style takes its cues from Woman Called Fujiko Mine but ditches that weird shading that was it's one big flaw. It's colorful and well composed and all around gorgeous. The animation is also very strong. Takeshi Koike brings the same kinetic style here that he demonstrated in Redline. The story is fine. It's fairly functional but has a twist or two to keep things interesting and is mostly well paced. Mostly though, the appeal here is simply a fun game of cat and mouse between two gunmen. If anything though, this movie is slightly hampered by its relationship with the Woman Called Fujiko Mine. There's a side-plot about Fujiko infiltrating a crazy sex club that doesn't really fit with the tone of the rest of the movie and plays out exactly like it was written by someone trying hard to emulate Fujiko Mine but who very clearly did not understand it.

Macross Plus (OAV) Excellent

Love the music. Yoko Kanno at her best. Looks good too. Some of the digital effects have not aged well but overall that's a drop in the bucket in an otherwise very nice production. The Sharon Apple concert is especially great in terms of visual design. It's a really great story too, a smart and contemplative tale full of richly developed characters and a high-concept sci-fi plot that still ends up tying in quite effectively to the movie's ultimate emotional payoff.

Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi (TV) Bad

Not really the kinda thing I would see normally. I only did cause a friend lent it to me. It had its moments. Especially initially. As it went on though the jokes got repetitive. The parts that were serious didn't really work for me.

Magnetic Rose (movie) Excellent

This is a really neat story. It looks fantastic and has a wonderfully subtle musical score. It all combines to form a hauntingly beautiful short film. Memories as a whole may be a mixed bag but this is definitely not to be missed.

Maria the Virgin Witch (TV) Excellent

Boy, it is a long time since I've seen a show do so much with a relatively weak premise on the strength of writing and execution alone. Really, even that sells the show short. It's not great despite the [blank]. It's just a really great show. I mean, there are some dumb sex jokes. But even they actually seem as much there to develop character by juxtaposing Maria and her childish ignorance with her succubus familiar. And y'know, they're at least actual jokes. Not the usual ecchi stupidity that's really just there in service of titillation. Besides, this all goes out the window pretty quickly anyway. You'll probably forget that this is even a comedy by the midpoint. This is unquestionably a show about sex rather than one that merely features it for humor (or titillation). Anyway, the setting is quite interestingly done. It adopts a fantasy version of Middle Ages Europe where Witches and magic are real. Except it's still essentially a very realistic and essentially historically accurate setting. Witches are condemned publicly by the church but still simultaneously accepted and frequently used behind the scenes by many people. In general the church is represented as both a major cultural force and yet a frequently malignant and hypocritical and corrupted entity. (This show is very much about religion in addition to sex). Meanwhile war is brutal, unglamorous and pointless and those caught up in it are mostly the poor and helpless farmers conscripted against their will. That's where Maria comes in. She's very much an outsider and yet all she really wants is to help people and stop the needless battles. She's very insecure and kinda a dork despite her significant power, presumably due to her lack of regular interaction with other people. Anyway, the character writing here is just so strong. All the characters are complex and believable (even the bad ones) and the show handles everything it deals with with a staggering degree of intelligence and tact. Oh, and the show is quite pretty. It's arguably closer to the budget side of the spectrum but it uses what it has quite wisely. Also, more importantly, it has a really pleasant art style. It's got a nice, clean, bubbly look in terms of the line work (very KyoAni) but with a more restrained underlying structure that keeps from the more exaggerated features and proportions of such shows. I like it a lot.

Matriculated (OAV) Awful

Trippy visuals but not really coherent and therefore not very interesting.

Megazone 23 (OAV) Weak

This is pretty much every anime cliche from the 80s all rolled up into one hour and a half OVA. That I really don't mind in itself. It's just that it isn't really all that good either. Not horrible or anything mind you. Just sub par in enough regards with little to mitigate it. Shogo isn't very likable and sometimes crosses the line from precocious rascal to possessive douche, especially where his girlfriend is concerned. The plot is a bit odd too. There's a few big ideas here. They're mostly weirdly handled though. We learn first that the whole city is actually inside a giant space ship unbeknownst to everyone. And then we learn that a popular TV personality is just a program. It's odd given that the prior seems like a much bigger deal. They never really do anything with either of these twists either. It more or less amounts to a backdrop for a pretty standard "kid rebels against the bad military" story which, incidentally, ends not only utterly inconclusively but with surprisingly little in the way of a final act. It doesn't even feel like a "to be continued" either. Things just largely sputter out after a whole lot of plotless meandering and indecisive angst.

Memories (movie)

See individual segments

Metropolis (movie) Good

Without a doubt this movie has its flaws but in spite of them it's still quite good. The visuals are absolutely top notch. I really love the Tezuka inspired character designs. The animation is highly fluid and captures a lot of subtlety in movement while maintaining the extreme detail of the artwork. It combines to create a very vibrant movie. The jazzy music is nice as well and combined with the bustling, fullness of the environments really makes this movie come to life and gives it a great Retro-Future feeling. Kenichi and Tima are quite charming together and you really get a sense of the connection between them. As I said before though this movie is not without it's rather noticeable flaws, the main one being a tendency toward rather sloppy story telling at times. Things can be a bit unclear and despite a strong start that pulls you right in and a very powerful conclusion, the pacing seems to go on holiday for the second act of the movie. Even with these things considered though it's still good.

Mighty Space Miners (OAV) Weak

Pretty slick presentation. The characters have a nice look that hits a nice balance between cartoonish and still appropriate for a more serious Sci-Fi show. The rest of the show has a nice gray industrial look appropriate to the concept. The animation is pretty smooth and does a nice job of capturing the idea of weightlessness. The plot however feels tremendously rushed and confusing. I'm really quite unclear on what all is going on. An great deal of time is spent on the kid and his situation which is actually less interesting than the ill developed situation with the disaster at the station. In fact the kid is a very annoying character. He spends the entire show worrying about passing his stupid astronaut drivers test while the whole bloody disaster is going on around him. In the end, there's no conclusion either. This was evidently intended to be longer but I guess only a couple episodes actually got produced.

Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket (OAV)
To Re-Watch
Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory (OAV) Good

I didn't really see it as standing out as a masterpiece. However this is an around very solid series. Interesting characters and story. High quality animation, good fights, cool mecha designs, all that.

Mobile Suit Gundam Seed (TV) Good

A generally good looking show with nice artwork, great mecha designs and generally high quality animation. What stands out to me about SEED is the drama. It feels very real and unforced, particularly in the first half. The series has an urgency to it that many other's lack. The characters are basically swept up in this fight against their will and especially through the first half they're forced into this constant struggle to survive. Relentlessly pursued and given little time to breathe, the characters angst as they are forced to fight and kill to protect themselves and their friends is very understandable. It helps tremendously too how relatively powerless the Gundams are in the first half. They may have an advantage but they still struggle to take down even the generic type enemy suits. It really makes the battles feel intense. This applies to both the protagonists and the antagonists as well. Both groups are very sympathetic in the first half.

So I think I used the phrase 'in the first half' about four times in that last paragraph. That means it's time to address the elephant in the room. The second half isn't as good. I wouldn't say it's bad exactly. It just strips away a lot of that stuff I just mentioned that makes the first half fantastic. The mobile suits are absurdly overpowered. The intensity is toned down. The villains are all fairly one dimensional crazies. The characters development has peaked a bit too. Again, I wouldn't call it bad, just average. (The big final battle conclusion is pretty cool though.) There are also some pretty noticeable issues throughout such as reused animation and identical looking characters and recap episodes (but you can just skip those). I found these issues to be fairly easy to ignore though and if you can do that, this is a great series.

Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team (OAV) Excellent

I would say this is my favorite Gundam series. It took a much more realistic look at the franchise than usual. (At least, relatively speaking.) Although really, I think what I enjoy most is not so much that it is realistic but rather, that it applies the fun of Gundam to the more small scale and mundane aspects of real warfare and less of the more grandiose elements of other series. Instead of huge conflicts affecting the entire world, it was just one small battleground amidst an entire war. It's really neat to see some elements such as real tactics involved. It can actually be a lot more lighthearted than a lot of Gundam though. It's really quite a bit more human as well. By not being preoccupied with making some big commentary on war it allows the characters more down to earth and real personalities to shine through. Not only was that a refreshing change, it was a heck of a enjoyable anime.

Mononoke (TV) Very good

Okay, ninety percent of what I have to say about this show I already said about the Goblin Cat ark of Ayakashi. So just see that if you want detail. This is essentially the same show. And it's more or less as good and for the exact same reasons. Great visuals. Great premise. Nice atmosphere. Medicine Seller is super creepy. The only thing have to add is that I wish they'd gone with longer arcs. The strongest arcs here are the longest ones and I think the strongest arc ever is still the four episode one from Ayakashi. This is still really great though. Yep.

Moondrive (movie) Very good

To me this is essentially what so many zany anime comedies try to be but fail because they don't really grasp the necessary subtleties. Really neat artstyle that's quite distinct but still maintains a certain anime vibe. The hyperactive cinematography and exaggerated slapstick are very well done. The voice acting and interplay between the characters is so much fun. Again, it's all about the subtle things. Timing, little movements and facial expressions. It all combines to create such a lively world.

Moribito - Guardian of the Spirit (TV) Excellent

This is simply put, a really really well done series. It's not that it's particularly innovative or unique material. It's just a tremendously well put together story. Balsa is a fantastic character. Very strong but still very warm and human. Right off the bat they start to reveal her complex back story. The other main characters are also interesting as are the villains who are also notably sympathetic. That's definitely the main draw of Moribito. It's way more of a character drama than an action show. On top of that though, it's also a very epic story. This I found particularly impressive considering that shows like that often succeed at the expense of they type of more low key emotion and character development at which Moribito excels.

The story is pretty solid. It has some nice twists and turns and it all slowly builds to a fantastic conclusion. Although if there is a criticism to be raised again the show it would definitely be the lack of plot development in roughly the second quarter. The world is very well constructed as well. It seems believable and has a nice, unique look which adds to it's sense of realness. The series overall looks pretty great as well. I like the character designs. Like the world, they have a nice, unique look which is a bit uncommon for fantasy series. The animation is very smooth and the fights are very fast paced and look great. So...if you haven't yet seen Moribito, see it. I only regret not seeing it sooner.

Mushi-Shi (TV) Excellent

It's a little tough to explain what makes Mushi-shi so good. It's absolutely mesmerizing to watch. Everything about the presentation is subtle, low key and oh so well done. The artwork is beautiful. The stories are all very down to earth and human despite their fantastical subjects. They're told in a quiet and unobtrusive way as to really let the emotion shine through. If I was to criticize Mushi-shi though, it would be for never really building on itself. It's entirely episodic which is fine. However, you would like to see them really up the ante, especially toward the end but they don't really. A later episode is no better than an early one. It's not a major problem since as it is the show is easily worth watching. Still, I found my enthusiasm for the series decreased over time as the initial wow factor wore off.

My Love Story!! (TV) Very good

A sweet, good-spirited, and at the same time hilariously funny show. Takeo is a really genuinely nice guy and Yamato is a sweet girl who is genuinely and adorably infatuated with him. What's more, as the show goes on, it becomes increasingly clear that she isn't just infatuated with him because he helped her that one time. The two actually have a very real and substantial connection. As superficially different as they may be, they're actually extremely similar, goofy, sappy people underneath. It's pretty adorable to just watch them be a weird little couple. Suna is also great. He's the perfect straight man to Takeo and Yamato's silliness and his presence really grounds the series. He stops it from feeling at all contrived by serving as a constant fly on the wall reminder that yes, these are very silly people and the show knows this. The show isn't just cuteness and laughs though either. It's also actually very well written. Despite their goofiness, the characters are also very genuine. They do a phenomenal job of dodging the tiresome cliches of the genre too. The two get together pretty much right away and there are few contrived misunderstandings to manufacture drama. Visually the show is solid too. The animation does what it needs to and while the overall aesthetic is nothing memorable, I do like Takeo and Yamato's character designs and the facial expressions are hilarious. If there's a problem it would be that they show really overuses life threatening situations. But that only applies to the first third or so and to some degree they even manage to pull this off by doing in in such an overtly silly way.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (movie) Not really good

Nausicaa is the one Ghibli film I've seen that I'd definitely have to say I'm not a fan of. It has plenty of redeeming features for sure, especially on a purely visual level, but it's flaws are pretty significant too. Nausicaa is such an infallible messiah figure. She's not very interesting as a character and she's downright tiresome to listen to when she gets on her high-horse. It's not just her though either. The whole scenario is carefully constructed to make her always turn out to be right. The toxic forest isn't actually toxic. In fact, it's purifying the soil. And so on and so forth. At the same time, the movie doesn't even really succeed in establishing consistency within this contrived scenario though. As we're shown quite explicitly, for whatever good the toxic forest is doing long term it is straight up wiping out kingdoms in the meantime. Not Nausicca's mind you. Naturally, her people live in a plot convenient safe-haven that keeps them largely protected. To me this is the most problematic aspect. It pushes her from an annoyingly perfect messiah to an insufferable hypocrite who isn't so much a messiah as just someone with the pretensions of being one. Of course, some or all of this could have been a good thing. Presenting the villains as complex and the heroes as flawed is precisely the kind of nuance this movie lacks. Except it's never really framed in such a way. It's ultimately just Nausicca the flawless, swooping in to save the foolish humans from themselves and show them the glaring error in their ways. Hence, it's not nuance so much as just failure to grasp the implications of its own plot. In the end, I'm glad this movie exists if only because it launched Ghibli which gave us such masterpieces as Princess Mononoke, a movie from a much more mature Miyazaki that perfectly captures precisely all the nuance and subtlety that Nausicaa completely lacks. As a result though, Nausicaa is rendered largely irrelevant in my books. A very rough first effort that was thankfully a sign of better things to come.

Neo-Tokyo (movie) Decent

Overall this is certainly a movie worth seeing. It's extremely well animated and fluid and very visually inventive. The design work (particularly in the first segment) is quite unique and stylish. Not to dismiss the other segments either. The middle one is incredibly detailed and the third is sublimely well animated. The twitchy, popping motions of the robots and their incessant, churning motion really gives them the feeling of being wildly out of control. That said, this last segment also feels woefully incomplete. It simply ends without really reaching an appropriate climax.

Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV) Masterpiece

This, like Bebop is one of those shows where I could try and summarize what makes it so fascinating but I doubt I'd really succeed. There's just so much to say about a show like this. So instead, let me just say that Evangelion is brutally intense, immensely complex and by far one of the most fascinating series out there. One thing I will comment on though is the controversial ending. I think your reaction to it will probably depend heavily on how well you followed the show up until that point. If you haven't picked up on a lot of the explanations and details throughout the series and in turn don't really follow what specifically the ending is addressing then it's going to seem almost incomprehensibly incomplete as it did to me the first time. On the other hand, if you've gathered the basic idea of what the angels, the evas and human instrumentality are from the series (and while it's by no means spelled out, it's certainly there) then I think you will find the ending a lot more satisfying in regards to a number of plot elements and perhaps more importantly, in regards to the shows thematic and psychological elements. Of course that said, the ending is still tremendously incomplete. It doesn't really resolve things at all with Misato, Ritsuko or Gendo. There's also the matter of the transition between episodes 24 and 25 which is horribly jarring and uneven. Even putting aside the plot elements that aren't resolved, there really needed to be some sort of transitional story linking the conclusion of the actual narrative in episode 24 to Shinji's examination of instrumentality in episode 25. Overall though, it's hardly an awful ending.

Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion (movie) Good

End of Evangelion. The long awaited conclusion to one of the most infamous anime series of all times. It's...eh. Okay. To be quite honest, I think I prefer the TV series ending. That's not to say it's perfect either. It's totally unsatisfying on a narrative level and that's why I do like this as an additional supplement to the TV ending. It offers a much more satisfying and more detailed conclusion for Misato and Ritsuko and clarifies what the series ending only hinted at. Gendo's true motives are made a bit clearer as well. Finally, it just basically provides a great set up and narrative framework for the final conclusion.

So that all sounds good. What's the problem? Well, the problem is once it actually gets to that conclusion. That's where it sort of struggles. I guess style over substance is the best way to describe it. There's a lot more flash and imagery built into and around the whole process. Some of it, like the live action segments don't really work, but more importantly, even the parts that do feel a bit needless. They don't really contribute anything. It just seems to serve to draw things out, bog down the pace and take up time which in turn dumbs down the actual content. There was nothing wrong with the way the series examined and concluded Shinji's character and his struggle with instrumentality and this definitely feels a bit like the cliff's notes version with a lot of pointless flash. It's not unbearable by any means but it absolutely feels inferior.

So where does that leave End of Evangelion? Well...I don't know. It's definitely something you need to see to get the compete Evangelion experience. It definitely falls short of being the 'complete version' of the ending that I had hoped it might be. I'd almost recommend that people watch the first hour or so for the setup and then flip over to the last two episodes of the series for the conclusion. I don't know if there's a good place to do that though. I guess maybe you just have to watch both, appreciate both for their strengths and forgive their weaknesses. Somewhere in there you'll have received the complete package. It's a bit of a shame that no single streamlined version of it exists.

Ninja Scroll (movie) Very good

Ninja Scroll is the ultimate action movie. It's super cool, stylish and bad ass, with a variety of freaks to be bloodily dismembered. It's sure as hell not high art bit it's fun as hell.

Ninja Scroll (TV) Worst ever

This is the worst thing ever and those who created it should feel bad about themselves. The world is a worse place with Ninja Scroll (TV) in it.

Nobunagun (TV) Good

I hereby dub this show: "New Hellsing". That's basically the vibe and appeal I get from it. And that is awesome. Gorgeous, stylized art design. Just the right balance of exaggeration and restraint to keep it from getting too busy. Beautiful use of color. Despite most of the show being very dark and shadowy it still has a ton of pop. And a pretty nice eye for visual composition. Some nice inventive stuff I thought. Fantastic music too. Super high energy rock and metal that really gives the action some oomph. Fantastic sound in general actually. It's not very often that a series captures the appropriate loudness for this kind of action. And the action is fantastic. Of course, its not super high budget stuff. But they know exactly how to use shortcuts, that is, with enough energy and visual flair, that you barely notice. (And there's not a hint of CG anywhere) Also, the plot is completely ridiculous in the best possible way. It even makes the whole name dropping thing work by being so ridiculous and unexpected about it. Ogura is quite likable and I thought her friendship with the other girl was decently handled. And her relationship with Jack is cute too. Mind you, there are a few minor flaws. The humor can be hit and miss and there are a few minor characters I'm not fond of. And there's no denying that the middle of the show gets pretty episodic and meandering and isn't quite as strong as the first few episodes. Things definitely pick up again as they move toward the conclusion though. And the ending is quite solid.

Noiseman Sound Insect (movie) Weak

Some nice visuals. However, the plot is abstract and incoherent to the point that I really had no idea what was going on in even the simplest terms.

Noragami (TV) Good

Very nice presentation. Well animated with some sweet music. Very slick action scenes. Great monster designs too. In some ways, its almost more impressive that a show like this, without a particularly out there, stylized art style, is just such fun to look at. The writing is also pretty solid. Yato is a lot of fun and makes hands down the best entrances of any character in recent memory. (Just watch the show, you'll see what I mean). I like the characters too. Again, Yato is goofy and entertaining but not to such an over the top extent that he becomes just a walking gag and not still a character. Hiyori is really great too. She's fun and might just be one of the better strong female leads I've seen in a while (although she gets a bit neutered as the show goes on which is disappointing). The writing is generally solid. The middle arc is a bit troubling though if still pretty good overall. It's all about Yukine getting angry and running around causing problems. And that's fine. Yukine isn't a problem at all to me. His anger seems pretty understandable and the trauma he was dealing with very real. He's extremely sympathetic. It's more Yato that makes me scratch my head. He comes within a hair of dying (or whatever gods do) to protect Yukine. But he also seems like he won't even make the slightest effort to talk to him to stop it from reaching that point. He acts like he doesn't care at all and Yukine is just a tool, which, if he was just an asshole, I'd understand. But he evidently cares deeply about Yukine. So why the heck didn't he do something to try and help him sooner? It's still pretty enjoyable (especially the conclusion in episode 9) but it feels rather like it is built on a fairly contrived premise. The third arc is also a little bit of a mixed bag. Rabo isn't really a very complex character. They added him for the anime apparently, which isn't inherently bad but it definitely feels like his arc is just a stand in to round out the series run-time since they don't have time to start anything else. It doesn't really shed any new light on any of the main questions hanging over the series like who Yato was, why he changed, and what's up with Nora. It's fine enough as filler but right now this show is definitely more of a season 1 with the main conflict still to be resolved rather than a complete standalone show.

O-jii-san no Lamp (movie) Excellent

A really exceptional and beautiful story of a man coming to terms with the inevitability of change. Definitely the highlight of the first generation Anime Mirai projects.

One Punch Man (TV) So-so

In all honesty, this show just doesn't really do much for me on any level aside from the fights. They are very nice I'll grant you. Easily the most impressive, boundary pushing stuff of anything I've watched this season. (I expected no less from Shingo Natsume, as would anyone who has seen his work on Space Dandy.) Beyond that though this show just leaves me really cold. There are a few mildly funny moments scattered here and there, most of which take the form of various little non sequitur oddities. There's not a lot laugh-out-loud funny about this show though. It doesn't really function as a parody. It's not even actually that exaggerated beyond Saitama's strength. And overall, it simply suffers from far too much comedy-free downtime. Of course, if they were going for more of a comedy/serious drama hybrid that would be fine. I'm not really sold on the latter part either though. The show is so gleefully steeped in mindless, excessive destruction that it's tough to establish any sort of emotional connection to. It really doesn't feel like there are actual stakes to anything nor any real tension. Basically every big fight sequence is ultimately hamstrung by the underlying joke that Saitama is essentially invincible and can beat anyone in one punch. You can only play out the same sequence of building up a villain to be powerful, then having Saitama show up and one shot him, so many times before it stops being...well, anything.

(The) Order to Stop Construction (movie) Decent
See Neo-Tokyo
Orguss 02 (OAV) Good

There's a nice balance of sci-fi action and political intrigue that keeps you on the edge of your seat. It looks quite nice as well and has a great opening theme. The rest of the music is really good but only in the dubbed version which is different. The original Japanese version is kinda crappy. Overall it's definitely a very solid and under appreciated little OVA. Elements of the ending are a bit deus ex machina though and sort of come out of nowhere. I guess it makes more sense if you've seen Orguss 1.

Outlaw Star (TV) Decent

A good all around fun series. I don't think I could ever call it great since there wasn't really any place it was exceptional. Overall though it was an entertaining mix of various types of action, scifi, and comedy. A bit cliched.

Pale Cocoon (OAV) Decent

This is a neat little anime. It's quite captivating actually. It's probably worth watching for the visuals alone. The grey lifeless environments stretch on endlessly and identically and contrast the few glimpses of nature. The characters are well developed for such a short piece and the ending provides a neat little twist.

Paprika (movie) Not really good

This may certainly be a movie I'll revisit at some point. However, my initial response was definitely major disappointment. Paprika is beautiful with rich and detailed art and top notch animation. Initially it's quite interesting but as the dream sequences become more prevalent a fundamental flaw emerges. The dream sequences are visually pleasing but they aren't really very compelling. The thing is, they don't really mean anything. Sure, there are deeper themes to the movie as a whole. However the dreams themselves, much like real dreams don't really make any sense. Except unlike real dreams which are strangely compelling, this isn't. it's just a lot of dazzling but nonsensical stuff happening. In the first part of the movie the dream sequences were just interludes to people's actions in real life where they were in danger of hurting themselves. As the movie went along though the exact connection to reality was lost. There is some mention of dreams and reality merging but how or why that is happening is never really explained. Twists towards the end of the movie also disappoint. Dr Chiba's love interest just comes out of the blue. Nothing before it in the movie gives any indication that there is any kind of romantic interest between the two. Also, the detective's dreams are one point that is actually rather interesting because of the mystery they slowly unravel. However, the ultimate truth is pretty disappointing as it is such a minor issue especially next to the level of dramatics presented in the dream.

Parasite Dolls (OAV) Very good

You know, it's quite a testament to the engrossing atmosphere of Parasite Dolls that I enjoyed the first two episodes despite not really having more than a tenuous grasp of what is going on. The storytelling is very poor. A premise is laid out which is clear enough, they go about investigating it through a series of ill explained and confusing encounters. At the end, there's a frantic rush to get somewhere in time and then something gets shot. That seems to resolve the original problem and possibly whatever the hell else is going on. This all sounds very negative of course but as I said, I actually really enjoy the show. It's generally fast paced enough that it's fairly enjoyable to just sit back and watch. In fact, a slight sense of confusion somewhat adds to the rather dreamlike atmosphere. Although my reaction to Konaka's other writing has been mixed, this is one pervading element I rather enjoy. Of course, atmosphere depends on more than just writing but the whole production has come together nicely to build it up. The art style creates a very heavy, stifling environment with it's heavy lines and shadows contrasted with a lot of pale skin and the glow of monitors. A tremendous amount of attention seems to have been paid to the cinematography as well. Extreme close ups and shots where much is heavily concealed in shadow are used frequently and to great effect. The Music is subtle and sparse but very effective as well and it all serves to really draw you in. It all really comes together well in the final episode which is far more coherent despite its somewhat unorthodox methods. It sort of gathers up the collection of various tidbits you have about the characters whom until now you know very little about and brings it all to a pretty solid conclusion. I notice that Nakazawa co-wrote this episode and I suspect that had something to do with it. Despite it's shortcomings Parasite Dolls is definitely something worth watching. I'd go so far as to call it a hidden gem.

Parasyte -the maxim- (TV) So-so

Not bad I guess. Migi is very entertaining. Really creepy body horror. Looks nice too. The squirmy, mutating flesh creatures truly come to life for the most part. Great atmosphere with appropriately twitchy soundtrack that fits perfectly. That said, eh, I don't know. Some things about this show just don't quite click. The plot is very meandering and never seems to truly pick up steam. It will start to sometimes and string together a couple really outstanding episodes and then...then it just takes its foot off the gas. Of course downtime can be important too but not if you don't really do anything interesting with it and the show generally doesn't, especially where Murano is concerned. She hangs around. She wrings her hands because Shinichi seems like a different person now. She...well that's pretty much it. And they devote a lot of time to this despite little actual progress. It's disappointing. Kana is similarly frustrating. She doesn't really seem to serve much of a purpose in the show. All she does is turn up, become infatuated with Shinichi (despite him never particularly returning her feelings) and then get killed off. And yet this whole process is stretched out over quite a period. Anyway, the show does get better toward the end...or at least different. I don't know. The final conclusion with with Reiko is pretty great and the Parasite political cabal finally moves into direct conflict with Shinichi and/or the government instead of just being this vague threat in the background. Not a lot actually comes of that though. I mean, there's a big violent battle but whatever the Parasites were actually trying to accomplish goes essentially out the window. There's also a very on the nose serial killer character who is pretty tiresome.

Patema Inverted (movie) Very good

Both the worlds of Pantema are quite well constructed. The surface world is run by a controlling authoritarian regime. But it actually flows quite naturally from the world's history. The past tragedy has given rise to a mentality of fear toward the very sky itself. Even looking at it is frowned upon. Mind you, the villain is a bit over the top which is a bit disappointing in such an otherwise well constructed world. They also really effectively sell their premise. It's one thing to just have some characters who fall up. But the movie really conveys just how freaky that is with some nice camera angles and shifting perspectives. I actually felt compelled to hang onto my chair just a little bit a few times during the movie. Anyway, this is a fun movie. It is quite well paced and really exciting and action packed considering there is next to no actual violence. The movie has just about the right amount of comic relief too, and knows just when to use it. The main characters have good chemistry and there are some sweet moments. In terms of plot, it's mostly straightforward enough but there is a tremendously neat twist at the end. There's some interesting subtext here as well. The whole movie could be interpreted as a metaphor for understanding the perspectives of other people.

Perfect Blue (movie) Very good

Great artwork and designs. They bring a dark, ugly reality to life that contrasts so well with the bubbly and colourful pop idol world to create a sense of the latter's transparency and falseness. In fact, this movie makes heavy use of juxtapositions. For instance, the way what's going on in reality and what's going on in the series they're filming mirror each other. This allows the story to jump back and forth and make you think something is real and then it turns out to be just part of the movie but then maybe it's not. This works quite well and helps drive home the feelings of doubt and disorientation that Mima is experiencing. It really plays with your mind. It does get a tiny bit tenuous toward the end though as I couldn't help but give up a little on reality since there's clearly no way to know what's what. This kinda takes the tension out of things. They do a great job of tying it all together and bringing it back to earth for a coherent end though. So overall, I'm pretty pleased with this movie. I really enjoyed it quite a bit and I'll definitely watch it again some time.

(The) Perfect Insider (TV) Good

Boy, this is a tough show to rate. I wonder if this wouldn't have worked a lot better as a movie. The pace drags terribly especially around the middle. It really robs the proceedings of any sort of urgency which is a bummer. They've nailed the setting, an isolated lab facility, and had all the pieces to put together a pretty tense mystery story. It turns some of the elements I basically like (Moe and Sohei's relationship) a bit tiresome (I can only watch Moe get mad because someone else is into Sohei so many times). I don't want to get too down on this show either though. It's still pretty good. The central mystery is quite well done. Neat twists backed up by lots of cool, high-concept ideas. I like it a lot.

Ping Pong (TV) Very good

You know, I think it's really interesting how Yuasa's visual style has developed over the years. Mind Game and Kemonozume had a much scratchier, rough look. Tons of little lines and details. Super abstract, sketchy stuff with little in the way of clear, defined edges. Then Kaiba came along. It kept the same very abstract visuals but instead grounded them in rock solid, clearly defined outlines for everything. And Tatami Galaxy took that look even further. Whereas Kaiba's color pallet is very muted, Tatami was all about the bright, bold, block colors with only thin, reserved outlines. It gave the whole thing a very deliberately two dimensional look. And now there's Ping Pong. In some ways Yuasa has gone full circle as this show probably has the most in common with his early work. I think it would be more accurate to say it's a little bit of a blend of all three earlier styles though. A synthesis of the best of both worlds. See, there's tons of little details like his early stuff. It's the antithesis of the clean, minimalist Kaiba or Tatami Galaxy. But there's also a very distinct heaviness in the line work that Kemonozume lacked. As much as it embodies the squiggly, rough feel, it also feels extremely controlled and deliberate. Not at all sketchy. There's a ton of nice variation in line thickness too that's pretty new for Yuasa. Little to no actual shading, but the lines themselves are strategically thickened to create that effect. It's really fantastic actually. It still really seems to allow for a lot of fluidity and motion which was one of the strengths of Kemonozume but the heavier outlines give it a lot more pop. It feels like the antithesis of Tatami's or to a lesser extent Kaiba's 2D flatness. Not that that was a bad thing in those shows. It just wouldn't work as well here.

Anyway, in terms of story, I'm also quite pleased. Part of the issue I have with most sports shows is that they're based on team sports which just aren't that suited to being presented as a dramatic narrative. Ping Pong really lends itself well to this kind of story though. It allows them to ramp up the drama into these super intense, one on one contests and there's such depth of technique that they can really have a lot of variety and stuff happening without resorting to shounen special attack nonsense. Although really, the show isn't even that much about the actual games. It's more about these kids finding their way and dealing with the pressures of such a highly competitive sport. That's another thing I like about it actually. I've never seen a Japanese sports show that so effectively grasps that aspect of competitive sports. The level of commitment and work it takes to succeed. The crushing reality that no matter how hard you work, you're eventually gonna hit a plateau because only a tiny handful of people have the natural skill to compete at the highest levels. And the importance of coming to terms with your limits and maintaining perspective. There's lots of interesting dynamics at play too. From Peco, the arrogant natural who is crushed to learn he's only a big fish in an astoundingly little pond. To the melancholy Smile who appears to lack all drive despite his natural ability. And I really like Kong. He's super intense and rather that feel like just another arrogant jerk, his situation seems a bit more understandable. The only thing I can really criticize the show for is that it is pretty meandering. It's rarely boring, but it never really has much of a strong driving focus to carry the show forward. It does really pick up nicely in the final couple episodes mind you.

Pokemon 2000 - The Movie
See Pokemon.
Pokemon 3 - The Movie
See Pokemon
Pokemon: The First Movie
See Pokemon
Porco Rosso (movie) Very good

The animation is top notch and the various aerial sequences look great. The art hits a beautiful balance between bright, colorful and iconic simplicity and gorgeous detail where suitable, especially in the planes and backgrounds. The music is especially enchanting as well, even by the high standards generally set by Ghibli. It's also a very fun, spirited adventure. The story is generally well paced and sufficient if not overly complex. The characters are all quite appealing as well. Fio has this great, take charge way about her and Porco himself is quite appealing too, both in terms of his gruff, put upon outer personality and his quite fascinating more complex side that surfaces from time to time. Also, that one sequence where Porco tells Fio about his dream? That's gotta be one of my single favorite sequences in any anime.

That said, there's one thing that just bugs me about this movie. In a lot of ways this movie treats dogfights very whimsically. They're not serious struggles of life and death at all but rather, very lighthearted and playful rivalries (such as with the pirates and Curtis). But at the same, the movie is very much about Porco's survivor's guilt over the deaths of all his comrades in the war, as well as Gina's sadness at the losses of her pilot husbands who (inevitably it seems) died in battle. It's not even that tonally discordant per se. It sort of works in the context of the film which handles the transitions smoothly. It's just very odd, if that makes any sense. I can't quite shake some feeling of dissonance with the two radically contradictory portrayals.

Princess Jellyfish (TV) Excellent

Firstly, a random thought: "Lets get ready to Uncle!" is the single greatest pun in human history. I now really hope that my brothers have kids ASAP just so I can use it myself. Anyway, I really like this show. Visually the show is nice. The art style finds the right balance between fun, visually distinct looks for all the characters and without delving into excessive cute-ification. Especially impressive when the girls get all fancied up, managing to look nice without looking divorced from their normal appearance or otherwise suddenly morphing into supermodels. Kuranosuke looks good too. Believable as a boy but also still really beautiful dressed in women's clothes. He's a great contrast to the stumpy Tsukimi. As for the animation, it isn't super high budget or anything but it gets the job done and delivers on some really nice visual gags in the way characters move. The Tsukimi roll is particularly great. Solid, catchy music too and great voice acting. Gives all the girls a ton of personality (Well...Jiji is almost too quiet, but again, she's probably the least remarkable to begin with). For starters it's hilarious. Both the jokes as well as the physical humor hit very strongly and consistently. Almost every character is super funny (including even the bit parts, several of whom totally steal the show).

They feel surprisingly real and believable too. I really like the array of personalities the group has. They don't just have different one note interests to define them. Chieko has more of a (relatively) mature, feminine, middle aged vibe. She's more the de facto mother of the group, herding the rest of the girls but also hanging back a bit. And Mayaya, well she's pure ADD. She can be a bit too loud initially, but she really grows on you. She's not just loud and hyper. She's got this hilarious dramatic manner of speaking that's really entertaining. I love how the rest of the group deal with her too, more or less just ignoring her when she goes off and letting her become background noise. And Banba...okay I'll level with you: I think I might be in love with Banba. Not joking. Not even at all. She's short, surly, chill as fuck and can appreciate quality meat and snacks. That pretty much describes my ideal woman. Also, despite being a socially awkward dork, she's not afraid to tell people off where it's warranted. Respect. No, for real, that scene where Kuranosuke is making Chieko cry by threatening to sell her dolls...and Banba all of a sudden is just like "Hey. Don't be that person." Mellow but so forceful. That is some badass shit right there. Clearly Banba is a god damned sage. It's cool to see some of the dynamics within the group too. Like, Banba and Mayaya are obviously tight. They're always together even when the others tend to split off to do their own thing. Oh and Jiji. Forgot to mention her. Eh, Jiji kinda blends into the background a bit. She's fine and has some funny moments like everyone but she's actually the weakest character. She really only stands out by virtue of her especially off the wall hobby.

Make no mistake though, this isn't just a comedy. It also manages to be extremely poignant. It's a nice, well written, and rarely if ever oversimplified look at the life and issues facing socially awkward or stunted women which is something you just don't see very often. Tsukimi is a really sympathetic and well realized character. It's really is nice to see her start to work through some of her issues. And I like Kuranosuke too. I rather liked that his crossdressing isn't really a thing in itself with the show that they make a big deal of him "dealing with". Instead, the dude just kinda loves beautiful, glamorous clothes. And that's that. His slowly coming to like Tsuki is well handled too. Shu is also quite likable. Although the show very much drifts away from it later, he makes a very plausible match with Tsuki initially since despite his superficially normal appearance, he's actually nearly as awkward and messed up as she is. That said, if there's a fault with this show it is the ending. It is...not ideal. It's not terrible or anything. The only really awkward part is Shu's situation which never really resolves in a meaningful way. Otherwise, it mostly gets what it needs to done in terms of the characters and hits some really nice notes. It's just pretty rough plot-wise. The whole fashion line scenario reeeeally gets pulled out at the last minute and feels super rushed. As does the whole "save the complex" angle which never really builds up effectively and isn't tied together coherently with the fashion line thing. Like I said, its not horrible by any stretch but it could have been way better.

Princess Mononoke (movie) Masterpiece

There are plenty of obvious reasons why this is a great movie. The animation is great and the level of detail in the artwork is astounding. It's absolutely amazing to look at. This combined with the effectiveness of the story telling make it a captivating and magical experience. What really elevates this movie though is it's very subtle and effective handling of it's themes and messages. What I can't stand a lot of movies like this is how insufferably preachy they are while at the same time not really offering any answers or having anything of real substance to say. (See Miyazaki's earlier work: Nausiccaa). What I see in Princess Mononoke though is a very accurate thematic portrayal struggle between man and nature. They don't for a second try to dumb it down and turn the humans into some half baked straw man of evil. They're not bad, vindictive or overly selfish. The humans do what they do because they have to in order to survive. Nature also is not inflated into this conveniently benevolent force. As beautiful and majestic as it may be, it is also shown to be a dangerous, unpredictable and irrational force, uncaring for the well-being of humans. At the end of the day, I'm not sure if this movie has any particularly great answers. Then again, I don't know that it pretends to. It's more of an indictment of what doesn't work.

Prison School (TV) Decent

What is Prison School and more importantly, why on earth does it work? Honestly, I have a hard enough time just trying to answer the first question. It's an ecchi show...but it isn't. I mean it certainly has a ton of ecchi moments and a ton of potential fanservice. But it's all presented in a way that just doesn't quite feel like a typical ecchi show. It doesn't ever truly feel like it is trying to be titillating. Also, it's a comedy...or is it? I mean, it is certainly 100% not meant to be taken seriously. Yet the plot is really quite engrossing. I actually think I'm most invested right now in the actual story. Underneath all the absurdity is actually a very solid prison escape tale. Although, it certainly has it's glowing moments of comedy too. A lot of the ecchi and/or slapstick stuff is on the disposable side to me, but the show also has a certain overwrought, absurdist humor that's pretty great.

Professor Dan Petory's Blues (OAV)

...I don't even know what I'm looking at here.

Program (OAV) Good

Really outstanding art design. I particularly like the heavy shadows and picturesque backgrounds. They really evoke the feudal Japanese setting which is a cool, somewhat ironic feeling as it is of course not actually real at all. I like some of the neat little unreal tricks in the environment as well. The whole fight is very well choreographed and really takes advantage of these aforementioned elements as it shifts seamlessly through several different environments. The story is nothing mind blowing but at least enough to pull this up from the realm of 'there are cool people fighting, watch them!' and give it a touch of humanity. Although, that said, this is easily worth checking out for the visuals alone.

Project A-Ko (movie) Decent

This movie takes a while to get going. The initial conflict between A-ko and B-Ko and the comic relief that goes along with it is whimsical and occasionally entertaining, but not particularly compelling or hilarious. Once the aliens show up though, things really take off. The action scenes are quite wonderful. Especially some of the space battles and ships. It's not a very substantial film, but it is at least fun on the basis of this action alone.

Psycho-Pass (TV) Excellent

This show does not exactly get off to a great start. The first episode is probably the worst in the series. They abuse the hell out of the whole "rookie learning the job" trope as an excuse for exposition. It also seems like they're trying to do too much too soon. Before we've even gotten used to the premise they're already pulling the chord on what feels like the twist. If they'd give us an episode or two to just get used to the basic idea of them hunting people based on their psych reading then it would have a lot more impact. Things improve from there but still, a lot of the scenarios the characters find themselves in early on seem contrived. Of course, that said, there are some really good parts too. I like Akane and I [i]really[/i] like what they do with Kogami and Ginoza's past. Also, the two part arc in episodes 4-5 is really good and while episode 6 fell slightly back into the usual problems, it's still pretty decent and certainly a step in the right direction. Moreover, once Makashima shows up, that's when the series really takes off. Akane really comes into her own as a character (and then eve more so in part 2). They continue to do a good job fleshing out Kogami's past and Makishima gives the the show much more of a driving force as the ongoing antagonist with more of a personal connection to the characters. The final episode in part 1 is especially strong. Part 2 is even stronger. There are certainly some neat ideas at work here about society and law and over-automization. And while this show is talky as hell, it absolutely has the chops to back it up with real, meaningful insight and contemplation. I love that they go well beyond the typical "discover the system is bad/overthrow it" formula. A lot of the other members of the team get fleshed out too. I really like what they do with Ginoza and his father. All in all, this is an excellent show, despite a rough first quarter. A wonderful successor to classic IG scifi shows like Ghost in the Shell.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica (TV) Excellent

Wonderful art design for the most part. They do a ton of cool, experimental stuff with the witches and their minions. Some of the backgrounds are really outstanding and there's a lot of nice, unusual architecture. That whole opening scene was just beautiful to look at. The sort of pastel look is nice too although otherwise they're pretty conventional looking characters and they have oddly square heads. I like the costume designs though. They each have their own unique look. Overall this show is a lot of fun to simply sit back and experience. Great music too. Very spooky stuff.

This show doesn't exactly race out of the gate. Watching Madoka go about her happy little life initially is pretty boring. That said, I certainly did enjoy this show right from the start. There is definitely a very strong and well established feeling of foreboding and mystery looming behind the proceedings. It keeps you quite interested even before much is really revealed. The show really hits its stride around the half way point though. We finally get some real meat to chew on in regards to Kyube and Homura and the mystery surrounding them. All the bubbling emotional turmoil really comes to a head and they really start to dig deep into the characters. [spoiler]Sayaka's meltdown[/spoiler], while a definitely kinda rushed, is really fascinating to watch. Also, while Sakura is kinda annoying and flirts a little too much with various otaku bait quirks initially, she actually turns into a really strong character once developed.

If there is a significant criticism to be made of this show though it would have to be the premise. The whole magical girl concept seems very contrived and they just sorta seem to take it all as a given through the first two thirds of the show. We eventually do get a quick explanation of why Kyube does this. It sort of explains things in a vague sense but not really all the little "magical girl" quirks which is really what makes the premise feel contrived in the first place. Anyway though, despite this, the show does come to a really outstanding conclusion. Homura's back story is really cool and I like the way it justifies the semi-chosen one trope as it applies to Madoka. The ending is actually surprisingly positive considering the rest of the series but I like it. It's pretty out there, and it feels a lot more satisfying than if they'd simply beat Walpurgisnacht. It actually still makes sense though I think. It's not just Space Odyssey style impenetrable weirdness.

So...yeah. All in all, this is a great show. I'm really glad I gave it a shot.

Puka Puka Juju (movie) So-so

This movie feels like it doesn't really know what it wants to be about. They set up this scenario where the father is afraid of water which seems like it will serve as the main conflict when he has to take her to the beach...but then they never actually go to the beach as planned. A largely unrelated conflict where the father is torn between work and spending time with his daughter takes over...but then they go off on this whole fantasy sequence with the daughter and the father is a non-entity. It's really just disruptive and kinda pointless. And when they finally do get done with that and get back to reality...well the father just admits that hes afraid of the water and takes her to the beach anyway even though that whole issue didn't really have any bearing on the work/family conflict that had become the focus and the reason he didn't take her. Don't get me wrong, this isn't awful or anything. It's still kinda cute. And it feels like there are some good idea here. But they never manage to put them together in a satisfying way.

Rage of Bahamut: Genesis (TV) Good

This show could probably get by just on the strength of its action sequences. The production values are extremely high. Nice fluid animation and even the CG looks great. They've obviously put a lot of effort into creating a look that blends with the traditional animation. Plus the character designs are if nothing else quite fresh and distinct with a lot of nice variety. The show's strength goes well beyond just looking good though. It's great to see them pay such attention to the choreography. They're not just people fighting. They're these big, dynamic action set pieces. It definitely contributes to the rambunctious, adventure feel which is a nice change from a lot of the stuffy, self-serious fantasy you often see. There's also some wonderful western infused music that really works well with that tone (although they also bring the big, epic chanting where appropriate). I'm not by any means critical of the writing either for most of the show. The characters are all quite likable and already show some great chemistry with one another. Favaro is the perfect bastard hero and he plays off the straight laced Kaisar very well. And you know what? Amira is great too. It's very easy with character dynamics like this for the lone female character to be a bit of a drag in her own right, merely there to be played off the two guys. But no, that's not at all the case. Amira is a wonderfully energetic, thoroughly entertaining personality. They handle the story well too initially. The revelations about the larger story and characters pasts are gradual and well integrated. It feels very natural. Or, well, it does for most of the show.

Look, this show has hands down one of the most disappointing conclusions of any anime I've seen. I mean, was this gonna be 24 episodes initially? And then, for whatever reason, their funding got pulled half way through and they were told to wrap it in half that? I find it almost hard to believe otherwise. Not even because its so bad in the end but because of how good it was prior. Everything is set up so well for the first two thirds of the show. It's all very deliberately paced and then all of a sudden, around about episode 9, the story just flies into overdrive. It's so discordant I truly find it hard to believe this wasn't written with the initial expectation that they'd have a whole additional 12 episodes to fill out with their journey to Helheim. (Instead, they literally just suddenly teleport them there practically out of the blue). In terms of pacing it is a nightmare. It feels massively premature and never remotely satisfying. It leaves a ton of plot threads hanging or wrapped up very awkwardly. They completely squander several side characters and to some degree Amira herself as well. They also whip out not one but two new villains right near the end (and obviously do nothing with them) and also try to pull out a quick turnaround where Azazel kinda joins the heroes. It's really quite a mess. I mean, you could do way worse. It's still quite fun. But man what a letdown. This could have been a masterpiece if it had been simply given the time to keep on gettin' on like it had been for the first eight episodes or so.

RahXephon (TV) Excellent
To Rewatch
Redline (movie) Masterpiece

This movie is insane and corny and nonsensical and all over the place and it absolutely [expletive] works! It's just such an amazing, beautiful, energetic adrenaline ride. And it doesn't just work in spite of this. It works because of this. Does that even make sense? No? Bah! Making sense is a pre-Redline concept. Redline challenges your primitive notions of sense and smashes them into tiny little bits with an orbital satellite cannon. It's like Takeshi Koike just took every insane, awesome thing in his brain and then just went ahead and squeezed it into one movie. Every character is a new, bizarre design or concept to take in. Every element is just something else to spiral wildly out of control as the movie hurls toward a conclusion. Also, Trava is in this movie! Sweet! I didn't even really like Trava (the OVA) but I find this awesome for some reason. You know what else is in this movie? A bizarro 60s era Batman and Robin parody! Like...it's not even subtle. They basically drive a futuristic version of the Batmobile. Also, he's got his own theme music. It plays when he does a thing. So do a lot of the characters actually which is just awesome. I love the music in this movie. I love the way it cranks up the mood. The story isn't bad here either. The whole sub plot with Frizbee is cool and while the whole JP/Sonoshee romance is undeniably corny (spoiler[the movie literally ends with them kissing as they float through the air and then the word "LOVE" appears across the screen]), this actually fits perfectly with the type of movie this is.

Riding Bean (OAV) Bad

This contains a man named Bean. Just putting that out there. Anyway, the depressing grittiness of some parts feels out of place and a bit nullified but the utter absurdity of other parts. The 'man who is literally indestructible for no other reason than that we say he is' is a particular pet peeve of mine. The cars look great and the chase scenes are well done but otherwise this is just a bad hodgepodge of gloomy and stupid.

Robot Carnival (OAV) Good

It's pretty impressive how captivating this is despite only a couple segments containing any real story. The art and animation are fantastic. There's such an incredible attention to detail and everything is so fluid. The music is extremely effective as well. Because of this, even the couple segments that are essentially music videos are really fun. The somewhat more visually inventive but even less story focused segments are quite good as well. The best of the bunch however are definitely the hilarious parody segment 'Tale of Meiji Machines' which pits two giant wooden robots against each other in Meiji era Japan. Hilarity ensues. This is enhanced as well by the fantastic, intentionally bad dub complete with awful accents. The Presence segment is excellent as well.

Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers (TV) Good

If nothing else, this show looks pretty nice. Vibrant, detailed art design with a nice and unusual Aztec (?) look. Great distinctive character designs too that manage to be all uniquely colorful while still looking perfectly consistent with the show's overall aesthetic. Hell, even the CG is relatively tolerable (if by no means good). Curious story though. The first few episodes are fine but forgettable. A pretty unremarkable tale of fantasy heroes on a quest to slay an evil demon king. It's decently written if a bit heavy on exposition. Things really take a surprising turn after that though. The party becomes trapped in what is essentially a locked room scenario and it is revealed that one of them is a traitor at which point the show shifts into what is essentially a straight mystery (albeit with occasional bouts of action). It's a welcome change all things considered. While it doesn't entirely erase the show's occasional bouts of draggy exposition it really gives the plot some nice twists and some more immediately interesting stakes. It's really quite the enjoyable surprise. There's no obvious culprit (or rather, all the culprits seem at least a little sketchy which makes them interesting). It comes together in at least a decent-ish way too considering it is based on an ongoing series. I'd have liked to see the odd element dropped and we never really get a truly full resolution with the culprit but it's at least enough that it doesn't make things feel retroactively like a waste of time even if the show never gets a sequel (although I hope it does).

(The) Rolling Girls (TV) Not really good

You'd be hard pressed not to love the first two episodes of this show. I figured best case here would be if they just ran with a serious post-apocalyptic scenario despite the cast and character designs seeming like something right out of K-ON. Didn't consider for a second that they'd go the silly, over the top route. The show's visual flair and sheer energy are outstanding and the characters are entertaining. Masumi is quite immediately likable. She's cool and competent, but human too, not so stoic or impenetrable as to be a boring cliche. And the Propellers gang are the most amusingly earnest people. Despite being "the rest" and mostly picking up garbage and getting blasted into the sky, they're so thrilled to be doing what they're doing. And while the show drives home just how average Nozomi is, it seems apparent that this is the set up to her being thrown into a very extraordinary position. The story, while fairly loose, is also generally well told. They rarely get bogged down in obtuse or unnecessary exposition. They mostly lay out things by showing them to the viewer through action and through casual conversation. So yeah, that's the first two episodes. The rest of the show? Yeah...it's really not good if I'm being brutally honest. I mean you could do way worse. It certainly maintains some of the appeal of the first two episodes. It's still very bright and vibrant, and the humor remains at least mildly enjoyable. And every couple episodes they do still manage to throw in a really fantastic visual action sequence. However, it overwhelmingly lacks that sheer energy that made the first couple so enjoyable though and as a result, the pace drags a lot and it becomes fairly apparent that there just isn't that much of actual substance here. The plots range from thin to woefully and distractingly convoluted and the characters are unremarkable. I mean, they've got some solid chemistry with each other and there are some fun side characters. But they're also essentially side characters in their own story, made deliberately unremarkable so the show can focus on new (actual) side characters each little two episode segment. Of course, none of them are really interesting either. (I can really only point to a single arc that I felt at all invested in). Also, Masumi completely disappears from the show. This I kinda expected but it is disappointing nonetheless.

Roujin Z (OAV) So-so

In many ways this is an excellent anime. The art is very detailed and the animation is very smooth. The characters are all quite well done both in terms of design and personality. Mr. Takazawa in particular thanks largely to the effective voice work. There are however some plot points that stretch the viewers belief even by the somewhat lax standards one would expect in something like this. I was also bothered by the fact that as much as the bad guy's actions are wrong, it's really Haruko and friends who are directly responsible for the bed going on it's rampage. What I really found hurt my enjoyment though was the somewhat awkward pace. Things move along fast enough but the level of energy never really manages to build thanks in part to the low key if not non-existent music. Still worth watching though.

Royal Space Force - The Wings of Honnêamise (movie) Weak

I can see where this has the makings of a good movie. It's certainly visually impressive enough. But for whatever it does well it is completely, hopelessly marred by the weird, messed up relationship between the main characters. I hate Riquinni. For starters she's clearly in some kind of cult. A fact Shitotsugh is more than happy to take advantage of to try and get in her pants. This really comes across as his main interest in her. Of course that's not happening which kind of creates a problem. (Which might have worked really well if this had been a problem arising later as a result of a genuine relationship and interest but again, it doesn't). So anyway, one day, out of the blue, he tries to rape her. No biggie though, she just pretends it never happened. Now look, I don't want to blame the victim here. If I say more about her than him it's because, y'know, he's a rapist and there's not much more to say. But really it isn't just him. Their whole dynamic is just messed up. Of all the reasons people struggle to escape destructive relationships, none of them really apply here. Mostly she just seems pretty happy to let people walk all over her and doesn't seem to especially care if Shitotsugh is just trying to get some. She'll keep it up so long as it gives her a chance to recruit him into her cult. Again, if not for her and his messed up relationship this would probably have been at least a reasonably enjoyable movie. I do also have some issues with the world building though. The mix of some realistic looking rural settings, some original stuff and some modern dayish stuff made it tough to get a handle on the time and place this was supposed to be set. Also, the latter two combined to create a fairly high tech feel which seemed at odds with the idea of this being the first man in space ever. The pace could use a kick in the arse too.

Running Man (movie) Decent
See Neo-Tokyo
Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal (OAV) Excellent

I always have a bit of difficulty describing just what I like about works like this. It's a tragic character driven story that's understated and subtle but still highly accessible and enjoyable. That's the broad strokes of it anyway. It's equally understated visually but also beautifully composed. I hesitate to call it "cinematic" as I worry that does a disservice to anime in general but I fear that really is the best way to describe it. Also, while the production values aren't overwhelming, the animation is strong when it needs to be. These are some of the best, most intense sword fights in anime.

Ryo (movie) Very good

A really smartly written, character driven period drama. I wish we saw more shows like this. Too bad it ends so prematurely. It feels more like a mere episode 1. Would love to see a second episode to conclude it and flesh out the relationship between Ryo and his brother as well as maybe elaborate on how they got the the point we see at the end. Still, definitely worth watching even for what it is.

Samurai 7 (TV) Decent

The CG is fairly ugly and really doesn't blend well with the rest. The animation looks acceptable but with some pretty major drops in quality at points. The art and designs are rather stylish though. Anyway, the characters are where this really shines. They are all very well developed and all have a ton of personality and are very likable and a lot of fun. The action was also pretty good especially when you consider that the animation was sometimes so-so.

Samurai Champloo (TV) Excellent

Really pretty similar to Bebop although admittedly with a bit less depth. Still, the characters are fun and likable and are effectively developed slowly over a series of independent episodes. There's lots of great, stylish samurai action along the way and the ending was one of my favorite endings ever. It accomplishes something anime or anything for that matter rarely does and actually made me believe that they might kill one or both of the main characters. It really adds to the drama when you're honestly not sure who will live or die. Then when they didn't kill either of em, I was actually glad because it would have been awfully sad if they did. I still got the fun of thinking they might.

Samurai Deeper Kyo (TV) Weak

Here's the problem with Samurai Deeper Kyo. It builds and builds up for battles, but then abandons any actual fighting in favor of the bad guy turning into a big monster and the good guy destroying him with his super magical sword attack. Outside of that it was decent. A neat concept, story, characters. Too bad the action couldn't keep up.

Samurai Flamenco (TV) Not really good

Oh my god...never have I so strongly felt it was necessary to comment on a show in two separate parts. See, the first six episodes are quite great. The music is really catchy and has a nice, jazz infused sound going for it. The premise is very cool too. It's basically "wannabe superheros". Masa means well but he's so small time. He has no real power or combat ability. He's basically just a guy in a bike helmet who runs around hassling drunks and litterers. It's part of what makes the show so endearing though. It has a really fun, good-natured, goofy sense of humor and Masayoshi is downright delusional but you also can't help but like his enthusiasm and child-like sincerity. And Goto plays the straight man decently enough. Flamenco Girl is suitably and humorously insane. But (you knew there was a but coming) episode 7 happens. Suddenly, out of absolutely nowhere, the show switches gears to an absurd degree. Masa immediately goes from fighting drunks and umbrella thieves to battling an evil organization lead by "King Torture". And it doesn't just up the stakes. It goes right to full blown, gorilla with a guillotine for an abdomen (Gorillatine TM) super sentai insanity. Like, we're not even talking a "now it's sci-fi" twist. This stuff is absurd and impossible even by the standards of the average straight sci-fi show. And what's even more incredibly bizarre about it is that NOBODY seems very surprised. They just kinda shrug like it really isn't that inexplicable or anything. Nobody even comes close to acknowledging how impossible this is.

I don't know. It's just so bizarre. It's like they've gone out of their way to drive home what a down-to-earth real world setting this is and then in the space of a minute go to the exact opposite end of the spectrum. I mean, initially, I thought for sure it would be a dream or a delusion or something. But it isn't. (Well, there is a twist way at the very end but I'll get to that later) And it doesn't really seem to be parody or satire either. I mean, the show actually gets much less funny after the switch. And while it may be ridiculous, it isn't really "parody" ridiculous. It's all played fairly straight. It's just really dumb. It feels overwhelmingly like it wants to be a parody or satire. Except it basically forgot the actual jokes. I also feel like a lot of the down-to-earth, sincere emotion and character development went out with reality. Now it's just a lot of overwrought speeches and stuff. Plus, it is pretty disappointing that Goto gets completely pushed to the side. First the Flamenco Girls kinda take over which was at least tolerable because Mari is interesting too. But then, around the turn of the season, the Flamengers come along and completely take over from both. We barely even see him and Masa interact anymore and we certainly don't see him actually do anything significant to the plot. It's also just not all that interesting anymore regardless of direction. The show also flirts with "too dumb to be this dark" territory.

And the big From Beyond climax is even worse. The story loses even basic coherence in addition to plausibility. They spend the whole time on this big melodramatic lead up to FBs attack. Except we seem to be operating entirely on the basis of their own offhand claim that there are (somehow) tens of thousands of them. Hell, its not even their explicit claim. It's a calculation based on a bunch of gross assumptions about the literal intent of their name and its relation to their (also assumed) complex, exponential organizational structure. I don't really get either how they knew they were going to attack soon. It was explained as if it was a fact yet any context in terms of how they know or what exactly this attack will entail is totally unclear. And why they were resistant to telling people? Even if you can't evacuate the whole country, doing what you can and moving people out of high risk areas would be a hell of a start and save tons of lives. And then it gets even more insane. Suddenly super heroes are real! Because shut up! They just are and always have been even though that makes not a shred of sense and utterly contradicts the whole first part of the show where Masa being a real hero is like a novel thing. And then Masa has an evil twin beca...never mind he blew up. And then the government is evil and actually controls From Beyond because reasons. And then Mari finally actually comes back into the picture. Except she's still an utterly self-centered psychopath. Except the show seems to have now forgotten that this does not make her sympathetic.

Anyway, it does get one very strong episode toward the end. You know, I think the problem with the whole Flamengers arc wasn't that it made no logical sense so you couldn't take it seriously but it didn't really function as a parody either because of how innately ridiculous the whole super sentai genre is to begin with. It was the classic dilemma of "how do you exaggerate something to absurdity when it is already absurd? Well, they do seem to find a solution (at least briefly): Tie it to subject matter that is, traditionally, not ridiculous. ie. Politics. "Weird mutant aliens invade Japan and sentai heroes fight them in a giant robot" isn't funny. It's just what [i]happens in sentai shows[/i]. But "The prime minister of Japan has a super beetleborg suit that is powerful in direct proportion to his approval rating" totally is! Because it's actually unexpected which, I think, is the other implicit requirement for effective parody.

It kinda goes back to crap right after that though. We finally get "the twist" we've all been waiting. It's not really very satisfying though. I mean, at least its something. And there is a pretty obvious meta commentary that they're trying to make here that explains, at least in terms of writer intention, why everything up till this point happened. But the actual, in show reasons are just a bunch of hand waving inter-dimensional BS. And there's nothing actually all that smart or interesting about stringing together an incredibly contrived scenario in order to convey your point. Nor is telegraphing what you're doing so heavily that everyone has been waiting for "the twist" since episode 7. If the show had actually managed to pull this off with a remotely plausible scenario, without being so obviously discordant, and without resorting to a bunch of BS to prop up its twist, then yeah, I might call it a clever meta commentary. But as it is it is really just rather trite. And that's to say nothing of the fact that you've got to slog through 10 bloody boring episodes to actually get to the big reveal.

And THEN, just to cap it all off, the show just kinda goes back to being its old down to earth self. Like, the last few episodes could easily just follow episode 6. Which is kinda insane in its own right. We get an okay-ish conclusion although it isn't really executed that well and is at this point stacked on so much insane bullshit that it is tough to really buy into it at all. And...yeah. That's...it. I guess. Truly, I don't even know what to say about it. It is so completely and utterly insane. Plenty of shows make me sit back and wonder "what is the writer thinking" but this is one rare one that made me wonder that sincerely. It seems like they were clearly going for something. But whatever the writers' intent, it did noooooot work in practice. Despite a few good parts, especially initially, this isn't a good show at all. It's a mess. But hey, god bless em for tying. I really mean that. I have a ton of admiration for what was clearly a tremendously ambitions and high concept project. I'd like to believe there is a parallel world out there things were they did things just a little different and it totally clicked and produced a masterpiece.

Second Renaissance (OAV) Weak

Looks good. Very detailed and well animated. Feels awfully heavy handed though. It's debatable who should be portrayed in a more positive light, humanity or the machines. The original movie seemed to deliberately opt to remain ambiguous on this matter which I preferred. Here, the message is tremendously overbearing. They beat you over the head incessantly with the idea that this is all humanities own fault and the robots just wanted to live in peace. What's more, it's just not that interesting either. Did we really need to know the exact details? Not really. We already know how things end up.

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign (TV) Decent

This show sure won't be getting any points for subtlety. But that aside, it's actually pretty good. You can go a long way just on solidly paced, energetic storytelling. The visuals don't hurt either. This is certainly a nice looking show. The character designs really pop and the backgrounds are gorgeous. And even when the production vales inevitably sag mid-season they do a pretty good job of knowing where to cut corners to keep things pretty lively. The characters help a lot too. None of them are astoundingly deep but they are a ton of fun and the heroes have great chemistry and camaraderie together. Yu is just astoundingly dumb but in such an overt and comical way that you can't help but laugh. Also Shinoa kinda makes the show. She's so delightfully mean. It's pretty funny. In the end, this is not a show I would recommend to anyone who doesn't like dumb shounen action shows because that's exactly what this is. But if that's your thing, this is a pretty alright one.

Serial Experiments Lain (TV) Good

There's a lot I like about Lain. The art design, and particularly the heavy contrast of light and stylized shadow, is very well done. The sound as well with it's creepy buzzing of wires and fantastic, low key but effective music. The plot is somewhat intriguing. I mean, it isn't perfect. It's pretty deliberately abstract and sometimes that makes it feel more than a little ungrounded in any sort of coherent narrative. As a result, you certainly get the gist of what's going on but some parts don't really fall into place or make much sense. It's by no means enough to ruin the show though. I'd still classify it a definitely worth watching though. It's a really neat show.

Shanghai Dragon (movie) Decent

I'm rather impressed that something so short can manage to feel so epic and exciting. This is quite the package. Simple and action packed yet still rather emotional. It looks fantastic with great animation and visuals that perfectly capture the childish imagination. The voice work is particularly well done especially in the case of the children.

Shigurui: Death Frenzy (TV) Decent

This is a brutally graphic show that takes place in a brutal world of monstrous people. The characters aren't likable in the slightest. In fact, they're all complete and utter bastards. However, this works moderately well given the context. You don't really need to like them. It's still quite interesting to watch. They do actually have a decent amount of depth to them despite what you might think at first glance. It's a very gripping show with a great deal of atmosphere. The fights themselves are over in a flash but they're very intense and extremely well animated and they do a fantastic job of building up before hand. Despite it's upsides, the show suffers from some major faults though, the largest of which is its frequent failure to maintain coherency in storytelling. The story really jumps around a lot especially later on and there's a lot of names to keep track of. This problem is magnified by their over heavy use of shadow that sometimes makes it difficult to distinguish what's going. There are also a a number of confusingly similar character designs. The ending is also somewhat disappointing. It's extremely cool but also grossly incomplete. Overall, this is a decent anime. I would add to that however, that it is decent because some aspects of it are really excellent but it is dragged down by other pretty bad aspects. There are significant problems here (all of which fall under the umbrella of bad storytelling) but more than enough intense fights and gripping atmosphere to make up for it.

Shiki (TV) Very good (dub & sub)

There's a strong, gripping atmosphere throughout the show. Good music too. I have mixed feelings on the character designs. Overall though, I'd have to say I don't like them. Having odd, extravagant, or inhuman looking characters can help build the mood but it doesn't really work when it's only a random assortment of characters among an otherwise very minimalist and realistic aesthetic. Then it just feels disruptive. Anyway, it's nice to see something at least more or less in the vein of a mystery and although it's blatantly apparent at least in a general sense what's going on right from the start, It's still fun to watch. It's interesting to see this village as it is slowly taken over by the Shiki. It really builds to a phenomenal conclusion too in the last few episodes. This is a very complex show that gives you a lot to think about. I definitely don't think what the Shiki do is morally okay (although I'm not all together sure that the show is trying to imply otherwise). They're certainly sympathetic and tragic characters though (or at least some are). The fact that at least a couple of them do seem capable of choosing not to kill raises some interesting problems and even putting that aside, the humans don't exactly come off clean. There's a disturbing mob mentality that takes hold and it sweeps up at least a few innocent victims along with the rest.

Shiranpuri (movie) So-so

Fairly well composed visually. There's a number of really nice shots here and there. Although I can't say I like the art style much. It often looks just messy as hell. Especially whenever tone is used. Because they're no consistency to how it is scribbled in, it jumps around like crazy and creates a painfully distracting effect. In terms of story, eh, it's fine I guess. It feels at least a little after school special-ish. Although, It isn't too overwrought or anything and mostly doesn't treat the subject in an overly simplified manner. The ending is definitely more than a little corny though. Probably doesn't need to be as long as it is either.

Short Peace (movie) Good

Something worth checking out for the visuals if nothing else. There's a variety of gorgeous, inventive stuff here. Certainly a testament to the fact that CG need not be a dirty word in anime even if it often is. The stores themselves are alright. They at least are based on some interesting premises which at least serve to leave ample room for the aforementioned visuals to shine. None of them really amount to all that much on the merits of their writing alone mind you. But they're at least functional enough for this movie's purposes.

Sin in the Rain (OAV) Not really good

I'm no quite sure what to make of this. It seems like the intriguing first episode of what could be a rather good mystery series. However as far as I can tell, just the one episode exists. It's pretty well done. The flashbacks are used effectively to explain the back story and they do a good job of instilling a sense of confusion over the order of events initially but then tie it together well a bit later. The character designs are nice and the music is effective. The story never really advances beyond the setup phase though. That being the case, without an existing conclusion, there's really not much reason to watch this.

(The) Sky Crawlers (movie) Good

Visually this movie is pretty nice, at least on average. It certainly doesn't stack up to the heights of Oshii's more lavish earlier works but its still quite appealing. The CG flying scenes are a mixed bag. They're decent in terms of production values. Their biggest fault though is surely their drab color palate which blurs everything into a big, unremarkable, grey/brown. The traditional animation segments look quite nice though. They're fairly minimalistic and restrained but they have some nice details and the composition is pretty strong. This is also quite a fascinating story. There's a ton of subtext here although it holds up pretty well on the surface level too. So what's wrong with this movie? Well...it is incredibly slow and more damningly, dull at least at points. Slow is sorta okay. I don't mind slow if a movie is also interesting. But part of the problem is that this movie doesn't really even start laying any of its cards on the table until at least the second half. It makes for a pretty boring first half. Also, on a related note, the battles all fall pretty flat. I guess that's sorta the thematic point here but it's pretty damn uninteresting to watch. All in all I'm still gonna say I enjoyed this movie quite a bit. Maybe it's just easier to feel that way after the vastly stronger second half. But there is certainly plenty to like.

Slipstream (OAV) Decent

Very well done. The animation is great, especially for something a bit older and the story and characters are well developed despite it's short running time. It's an overall very well executed concept that creates a very effective feeling of tension and conflict.

Sonic Boom Squadron (OAV) Not really good

Though the animation is still quite outstanding the story and theme is very unfocused and only amounts to a vague condemnation of war. The character designs are very strange and generally ugly. They definitely don't seem appropriate for a somber war piece.

Space Adventure Cobra - The Movie Decent

A bizarre and often somewhat inscrutable story although it actually kinda works when you stop trying to make logical sense of things and just go with the flow. And there are certainly enough equally bizarre, psychedelic visuals and fast paced, kinetic action to make it an interesting watch.

Space Dandy (TV) Very good

Here's what I can say generally about Space Dandy. The quality of the writing is up and down but really solid execution and timing definitely sell it pretty effectively regardless. Great dub too. And the whole thing looks absolutely gorgeous. This is what you can do when you take an assortment of incredibly talented people, a great studio, and give them the budget and the freedom to cut loose. There's so much going on both in the frantic action sequence and in the scenes where they're just hanging around boobies with all kinds of weird aliens. Don't (mostly) expect cool fights (ie. Bebop) though. It is more big slick, kinetic, slapstick sequences. It definitely hits its stride as it goes on too. The first three episodes are probably the weakest in the series and it seems to get more and more high concept and inventive as it goes on. Beyond that, it's pretty hard to even talk about this show because it can vary a lot from episode to episode. Especially as it goes on, it basically becomes an anthology with a whole lot of prolific creators coming in to write one off episodes doing whatever they want. That's why I'm actually going to go ahead and talk about each individual episode:

Live with the Flow, Baby

A bit of a foundation laying episode. Somewhat funny. Meta jokes don't work but the narrator is pretty entertaining. Kinda establishes the status quo for the series. Decent sequence to cap it off. Fine, but fairly disposable relative to the rest of the series.

The Search for the Phantom Space Ramen, Baby

Not a great episode overall. Takes a while to get where it is going. Scarlett is cool but this really only serves to introduce her and nothing else. Does have a rather cool conclusion though. There's something pretty cool in the atmosphere as Dandy hangs out at the Phantom Ramen Shop. So that's something.

Occasionally Even the Deceiver Is Deceived, Baby

Some nice monster design. Otherwise, probably the most forgettable episode in the series.

Sometimes You Can't Live with Dying, Baby

A neat satire of zombies with some real clever twists. Great art design. Very neat to see them combine their already weird aliens with zombification.

A Merry Companion Is a Wagon in Space, Baby

A sweet, solidly written tale of Dandy traveling with a young girl. Very tonally different from the series up to this point. Not super memorable but a distinct step in the right direction. The first real sign that the show could move away from the style of largely insubstantial, hit and miss screwball humor of the first three episodes.

The War of the Undies and Vests, Baby

Only an above average episode overall. Takes a while to get where it is going (a common occurrence in the early episodes). Funny though. Funnier than the early episodes. I likes the alien's weird speech patterns. I couldn't help but be reminded of a certain utterly inscrutable canine meme. Although perhaps Jar-jar is more plausible. There seemed to be at least some Google translate in there too. It really hits it out of the park with that final surfing sequence though. What a great sequence. The best of the series up until that point.

A Race in Space Is Dangerous, Baby

One of the funnier episodes if not an especially substantial one. Loved the evil, litigious Mickey Mouse parody. Neat ending.

The Lonely Pooch Planet, Baby

So that's where Spike's fridge wound up after he flushed it out the airlock. Good thing Meow evidently takes after Ed. Decent all around episode. Sad first half. Odd second half.

Plants Are Living Things, Too, Baby

Really outstanding episode. Easily the highlight of the season. Probably the nicest visual design of any episode (which is really saying something) and the music was also great. Lots of strange little noises. It really brings the setting to life. (It kinda reminds me of Pikmin, which is awesome).

There's Always Tomorrow, Baby

Another really outstanding episode. Really love the sense of malaise it captures. It's a really neat metaphor for getting trapped in the cycle of a small town, workaday life I think.

I'm Never Remembering You, Baby

What a peculiar episode. The concept alone is very entertaining. I feel a little like I need to see it again before I can comment. It's good though. I enjoyed it. I'll say that.

Nobody Knows the Chameleon Alien, Baby

A pretty fun episode that winds up going to some neat places by the end.

Even Vacuum Cleaners Fall in Love, Baby

Interesting episode. The first half is a reasonably competent if not especially moving or inspired romance between two appliances. But man do they ever kick it up a notch in the later half. The visuals are fantastic. I loved all the shots of the various junked robots and the climactic battle at the end against the backdrop of the city was outstanding. The show has done a lot of great things visually but this segment may well be one of my favorites.

Space Dandy Season 2 (TV) Masterpiece

Man, this show has really kicked it up a notch. The first season was pretty good on average but this is averaging much closer to excellent or even higher despite a couple misses. It's not just the more high concept episodes that really stand out anymore either. I feel like the more comedic ones have also gotten a lot stronger too. Those were usually the weaker ones in the first season. Anyway, I'm now going to do an episode by episode breakdown since that's really the only way to effectively look at what is essentially an anthology. Here we go:

I Can't Be the Only One, Baby:

A great way to kick off the second season. Very funny stuff. I love the sheer variety and creativity of the various Dandies. It would be very easy to just go with a lot of obvious parodies and references. The fact that they don't really makes the episode work better as a whole though as the various Dandies all flood into the Aloha-Oe. Emo Dandy is just perfect. It's all in the execution too. His expression, his posture, the way he talks. Brilliant.

There's Music in Darkness, Baby:

A pretty okay episode if nothing more. The ending is the high point. The surfing sequence with all the stuff fling in and out of the river of time is neat.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Baby:

I don't even know how to respond to this. It's so weird. And great. Really great.

The Transfer Student is Dandy, Baby:

What a peculiar mash up. I really expected this to go the route of riffing on anime high school cliches. Instead, it is equal parts a send up of high school musical, other American tropes and 80s training montages. And it totally works. Very funny with some really great songs.

The Big Fish is Huge, Baby:

This reminds me a bit of some of Studio Ghibli's stuff, especially visually. It's a pretty mellow and laid back story with a neat atmosphere and gorgeous visuals and background design. Good stuff.

Gallant Space Gentleman, Baby:

God...that laugh track was the single worst thing in this show. It was so random and ill timed. Half the time it didn't even really coincide with jokes and just felt bizarre. And when it did...well that was just as bad. Making what I can only assume were deliberately bad jokes followed by a laugh track is only ironically funny once or twice. But they just did it over and over. And the few actual funny jokes just felt unfunny by virtue of them beating you over the head with a laugh track. Also, unlike some of the other weaker episodes it wasn't even capped by an impressive or inventive animation sequence. It was cool to see Honey get to actually do something and there were still a few funny moments here or there. But overall, this was without a doubt the weakest episode of the season if not the weakest of the series for me.

Rock 'n' Roll Dandy, Baby:

A pretty funny, middle of the road episode. The music they play is actually good which is a huge plus.

A World with No Sadness, Baby:

Surely the defining episode of the series. I feel like this show may very well exist just because Watanabe wanted to make this episode. This strange, surreal odyssey though a gorgeous, lush visual cornucopia of alien life (er...death?) is probably the series at its visual pinnacle which is really saying something. And it is also a very interesting meditation on life, death and suffering as well. Very neat stuff.

We're All Fools, So Let's All Dance, Baby:

I loved this one actually. Not especially deep but really hilarious and absurdly entertaining. Very nice dance sequences. How can you go wrong with a bizarro robot alien Jon Travolta parody?

Lovers Are Trendy, Baby:

Another strong contender for best of the series. It's actually a bit more down to earth than the series usually tends to be but the strength of the quiet, sombre love story between Dandy and Scarlett really caries it. The bittersweet ending alone is one of the best individual scenes of the series.

An Other-Dimensional Tale, Baby:

Reasonably funny and Dandy's relationship with his ex is fairly well handled. Not exceptional in either regard but it's difficult to not at least enjoy this one on their sheer strength of its weird premise. While Toh EnJoe's episodes aren't necessarily the strongest of the series, they're possibly the most bemusingly peculiar.

Dandy's Day in Court, Baby:

Not bad by any stretch but probably my least favorite of the season after Space Gentleman. It was a bit on the dull side. Not much visual flair. Very talky and without much in the way of depth or humor to support it. The premise was interesting and might have worked given more time to breathe but they had such a mouthful just trying to explain their convoluted scenario that the latter half just felt like pure exposition. Plus, they seemed to contradict their own premise when the defense attorney suddenly starts arguing for Dandy being the murderer for no clear reason.

Never-ending Dandy, Baby:

Not necessarily the strongest single episode of the show but pretty close to the perfect conclusion. A big, beautiful, sprawling space battle was the perfect way to cap things off. Plus I really, really enjoyed all the little callbacks to rest of the series and the way they tie everything together. It's very clever how they actually manage to turn the show's complete lack of continuity and reset button mentality (especially in season 1) into an actual defining plot point here. I also loved the twist with Bea. Totally shocking.

Spirited Away (movie) Decent

There's no denying that artistically Spirited Away is fantastic. It looks great and maintains the incredibly high level of detail and fluidity in animation that you can expect from Miyazaki. The art style is very nice and there's a lot of neat looking stuff to see here. All that said, the plot is...eh. It's got a bit of an Alice in Wonderland quality to it. There's a lot of crazy stuff going on and not a lot of it really makes much sense. The plot kind of goes off in a dozen different directions and lacks a clear core conflict or direction. All in all it's still lively and fun enough to be entertaining but it lack that certain pull to make it captivating.

Spriggan (movie) Not really good

Like many movies it falls apart in the second half. A couple initial scenes are quite good but then after the fight with the fat guy, there was the one scene on the snow tractor and then that was about it. After that the action was pretty mediocre if not non-existent and unfortunately, the action was really all this movie had going for it. Now I generally accept that in an action movie, but even so, I can't really give this a good rating since it really wasn't action packed enough to justify the weak plot and one dimensional and not particularly appealing characters.

Steamboy (movie) Not really good

You know what this pretty much is in a nutshell? A big budget Hollywood action flick. There has obviously been mountains of time and money poured into the visuals and it shows. They look absolutely great. The level of detail is amazing and the animation is top notch. I wish they had put the same level of effort into the rest of the movie though. The pacing is awkward and although it evens out in the last third or so, it feels distinctly overlong. The plot is somewhat incoherent and like the pace, rather uneven. The chatter about science feels a bit pretentious and shallow. There's no real particular meaning behind it. It's just been tossed on top just so they can play at being deep. Overall, the plot is just not really especially interesting or compelling. It seems like nothing more than a means to link together the series of shots of massive steam powered machines. Perhaps the biggest failing though is the characters. A movie like this can often be a fair success so long as the characters are fun. They're pretty dull here though. Ray has a bit of personality early on but that quickly evaporates. Also, Scarlet has to be the most awful, annoying, pointless character ever. She's a horrible, rotten, mean little monster of a child who spends the entire movie running around in her own little world completely oblivious to anything that's going on in even the most literal sense and nattering away at everyone about nothing. What's truly astounding though is that while normally you would expect such a character to at some point 'learn their lesson' or in some way come around, but she remains completely selfish and ignorant to the very end. I suppose this isn't awful. At least once the action gets going it's a mildly entertaining way to pass the time. It's an awful shame to see such animation go largely to waste though due to the lack of much real substance and inconsistency in plot and pace.

Steins;Gate (TV) So-so

Gosh, it's tough to know what to say about this show overall. My opinions vary wildly from one part to another. The first half or so is really pretty devoid of plot. I'd actually say that it's closer to a slice of life comedy that a Sci-fi adventure. Oddly enough, this actually carried me through the first half of the show just fine. It has a rather fun sense of humour. Okarin is so utterly full of shit, and the show knows it and plays it as such. It's quite funny. I like Daru too. Some fun dialogue there between the two. I have to applaud the show too for it's fairly realistic take on the characters. They're nerds and for once, they actually act like nerds. They make "Fail" jokes and giggle at unintentional double entendres and are generally repulsive to women. That's where Kris is actually a very decent character who also has some fun interactions with the other two as well. She's actually a rare instance of a both believable and likeable tsundere. She acts like a normal, sane person and her interactions with the guys reflect that as she rolls her eyes and/or accuses them of sexual harassment when they act like pigs. Anyway though, by the mid-point the show picks up as it transitions away from humour and adopts a much darker tone. The plot is a bit messy and kinda seems to make it up as it goes, often contradicting it's own apparent rules, but it's at least coherent enough if you're willing to just go with the flow. That being the case, it's actually pretty great or at least some parts are, especially as the show approaches it's conclusion. The relationship between Kris and Okarin is really nice and the plot builds to a great ending. Suzuha's arc is really great too. It uses the concept of time travel and changing continuity as it relates to character relationships to create a rather neat and tragic little twist. Moeka is also a neat character with a great couple episodes toward the end.

Unfortunately, all that said, this show is a testament to the ability of stupid otaku crap and harems to wreck a series. One of the few (only?) harem shows I like is Fate/Stay Night. I believe that the reason that show works is that it really only focuses on three girls. If Steins;gate had done the same and just focused on Kris, Suzuha and Moeka I think it would also be quite good. But no. They've just got to cram in the whole entire harem. Mayuri, in addition to acting like she's quite literally mentally deficient, serves no purpose whatsoever beyond otaku bait. She doesn't make sense as a character. Her place within the group doesn't make sense. She's just one big blob of pointless moe dropped in the middle of an otherwise good show to attract otaku. Then of course there's the cat/maid girl whom they also feel the need to shoehorn in for an extended segment every few episodes. She's actually got a semi-decent episode later on but it's kinda ruined because she's so absurd and devoid of real personality to begin with and at no point does she let up with her stupid cat girl act. Then of course to top it all off there's the shrine girl. Well, biologically [spoiler]she's actually male. Or she is, at least until they use their time machine to make her be born a girl instead using the apparently magical power of vegetables[/spoiler] (By the way, this just might be the single most bizarrely specific otaku fetish produced by anime to date). Anyway though...it's not even just that these superfluous characters pop up. I could tolerate that. On average they must spend a good third of the show dicking around with these three and for what? Nothing. They're not interesting characters. (They're barely even characters). At best they serve as plot devices on occasion and even then, only later in the series. They're just a big pointless disruption that drags the series to a halt.

So what do you say about Steins;Gate overall? I don't know. It would be easy to call this a really good show coming off the last half dozen episodes which were largely the strongest in the series. I don't know if that's fair though. As much as I enjoyed parts, plenty of other parts are just mind numbingly bad. I'd certainly say it was worth slogging though the bad for the sake of the good but I don't think I can call the show better than "okay" as a whole.

Stink Bomb (movie) Weak

The concept is sort of problematic. It's so utterly absurd that it's tough to take seriously and yet in practice it's utterly tragic. I mean when you think about it, hundreds of people are probably killed as a result of this incident and thousands more injured. Unfortunately, the direction they choose to take things is down the middle with a semi-serious but also somewhat comedic tone. It really doesn't work at all.

Summer Wars (movie) Not really good

I can't begin to tell you how disappointed I am in this movie. The main character is a dull, cowardly wuss. The rest of the characters don't really get enough screen time to amount to much since there's so many of them. Hell, Natsuki is largely a nothing character who really only pops up significantly initially and at the end. The whole AI thing seems like a big old do whatever we want plot device. The way it operates doesn't really make any sense or follow any logical consistency. The ending is just ridiculous. [spoiler]They challenge it to a card game and inexplicably win 6/7 hands to beat it. Come on! I can't even beat the computer player on my laptop and this is supposed to be a super smart AI built for games that has spent the last day devouring all the knowledge it can.[/spoiler] That brings me to my next question: Why is absolutely nobody else doing anything about this (especially if it's this easy but in any case as well)? There's absolutely nothing that the character have going for them that the numerous people actually in charge of shit don't. Here's the final straw with this movie though: It's just downright boring too. I could tolerate some of the other problems if it were at least more entertaining but it's not. There's barely any real conflict until extremely late in the movie. In that way I suppose it's a pretty realistic take on what would happen if the internet went ape shit. ie. relatively little of life and death consequence. It's a big pain in everybody's ass and brings the world to a halt and so everybody is forced to just kinda sit around at home until it's fixed. It's not until the contrived concept of [spoiler]the satellite starting to fall[/spoiler] that anyone is even in any particular danger. Although I again I must wonder why somebody not attending a family reunion such as the government didn't just blow it out of the sky. Of course, there is a lot going on on the internet before that point but then, that's the other thing. It's a lot of flash but with no real meaning. A lot of gorgeous visuals (and granted this movie is gorgeous, almost enough so to make it worth seeing) but those visuals don't really mean much. They never bother to set any kind of rules or groundwork for how their world operates and as such it has no real impact. It's just just flash without substance.

(The) Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? (movie) Bad

This is by far the single biggest disappointment I've ever experienced as an anime fan. Let me get the positive out of the way first. This movie, especially for it's time looks just great. The fact that I give this an even vaguely decent rating despite how otherwise painful this movie is to watch is a testament to just how impressive it looks. My god though, what a waste of good animation. The plot here can be divided into roughly 50% 'what the fuck is going on?' and 50% just 'what the fuck?' Regarding the former, should I have seen Macross (TV) before watching this? I've heard a lot of people suggest that this is a perfectly fine, stand-alone movie. Apparently not though. Very little of what is going on is never explained and in the rare instances it is, it's in the form of a quick little expository rant. There are numerous elements that would seem to be significant but only make brief appearances. (The actual Macross ship really only is shown a fraction of the time and never in an especially significant way.) Numerous characters make only a couple appearances, and yet sort of act like they're supposed to be significant.

Then there's the parts that are explained. You know, having to suspend your disbelief is one thing. This transcends that though to the point where it is simply sublimely stupid. I know Japan has this whole little freaky obsession deal with pop idols and their shitty music but I can't believe even they could take this seriously. Or maybe if it didn't take itself seriously but it does totally. Then there's the romance. The main character is generic and boring but lucky for him he just happens to fall into an extremely rushed and contrived relationship with the annoyingly cutesy idol girl. It's not even vaguely convincing. They don't seem to have any real connection or anything. They just get together because he's the male lead and she's the female lead and so it's what the plot calls for. now to be fair, this kind of thing is sort of a problem with 'romance' in most media. It's utterly contrived. (Although it's especially rushed and contrived here) I can generally tolerate it though because it's a sub-plot and not the focus. Here though it's pretty much the main focus for the first 3rd of the movie. The bizarre thing though is that after all that she disappears for most of the remaining movie. The main guy then goes on to for an only slightly less rushed and contrived romance with the other girl. (The one who is all tough and cold but secretly just wants to do dishes and play house because that's what women all secretly want right? :roll:) This results in a short lived love triangle when the cutesy one turns up again. It never really goes anywhere though.

Anyway, then the aliens declare peace, then war again a few minutes later and then cutesy sings and that does...something and some of the aliens switch sides again but some don't so they blow up the ones that didn't and thus ends the longest 2 hours of my anime watching life. Seriously, this was really downright painful to sit through. I think a good chunk of the problems here are due to them taking a 24 episode plot and squishing it down to 2 hours. It just doesn't work. It's hectic, all over the place and oh so rushed and poorly developed. Given sufficient time I believe this could actually work to some degree. Although...some parts are just oh so dumb and would be even with all the time in the world.

Sword of the Stranger (movie) Very good

A very pleasant surprise. I had expected a passable action flick. This is actually really good. It looks fabulous. The art is nice and the animation is very fluid. More importantly perhaps, the action sequences are all very well choreographed which is something you sadly just do not see that often in anime these days. It's fairly well paced and does a good job of building excitement as the movie progresses. It does struggle briefly just before the climax but quickly picks back up again. The characters are all well done too. Kotarou is a little brat at first but it's more funny than it is annoying because he's clearly trying way too hard. He has a lot of chemistry with no name who is a fun if somewhat cliched archetype. Rarou is an excellent villain. He has a certain Darth Vader-esque bad ass quality that makes him really cool. Oh and then there's the dog. The dog is awesome. This is overall can't exactly be called brilliant but it's a damned fun movie to watch.

Tachikomatic Days (OAV)
(The) Tale of the Princess Kaguya (movie) Good

Visually this movie is absolutely gorgeous. I love the soft, charcoal sketch outlines and the soft but bright color pallet. It's extremely detailed too despite its very stylized look. The backgrounds are especially wonderful and the composition is outstanding. The animation is excellent too. The unique art style is quite effective at capturing the fluidity of motion. Really, this is easily a movie worth watching just on a visual level. The story on the other hand, well it isn't bad by any means. I like Kaguya. She is an interesting enough character. And her relationship with her parents is very well realized. This movie is based on a folktale though and it kinda shows. It feels a bit formulaic at times. Especially the part with Kaguya's five suitors. Also, the twist at the end comes completely out of left field and seems somewhat discordant with the whole central conflict up until that point.

Tansuwarashi (movie) Not really good

I don't really know what to make of this movie. Is it trying to be about parenthood and family? Because that's not really the vibe I get. These kids or whatever they are...they're basically servants. They cook and clean and do her makeup. I guess they get along okay but there's never that much of a real bond there or certainly not a parental or even very familial one. So I guess I just don't know what to take away from it. Being the mistress of a big family where you have a bunch of servants who do your chores is great? Yeah. I guess?

Tenjho Tenge (TV) So-so

Good? I don't know if that's the best word. Entertaining might be a better one. It was fairly ridiculous and not really what I'd call quality entertainment. However I can't deny that this was a fun show to watch. It suffers from some weak characters such as Aya and Masataka who were annoying and bland respectively. Bob and Souichirou were great though. It would have been nice if it got to the point where they were no longer constantly getting the crap kicked out of them.

Tenjho Tenge: Ultimate Fight (OAV) So-so

I saw this immediately after the TV show. I didn't even realize it was a separate OVA. It definitely added a better conclusion. Obviously the ending wasn't an actual conclusion still, but it felt less like just a sudden stop.

Terror in Resonance (TV) So-so

Looks gorgeous. Just an extremely well put together show visually. Almost worth watching for that alone. Boy though, this is really not a very good show story-wise. I mean, it starts okay. A bit contrived but I was willing to give it a chance to pay off and/or explain some of its mysteries. It never really does to any substantial degree though. In fact, as this series wears on it falls apart badly. Initially it seemed like we were building toward some revelations about what the boys actual goal is and/or how they intend to achieve it by blowing shit up. But that gets put entirely on the back-burner once Five shows up. I felt the same way when Lisa finally ran away from home too. It seemed like that would kick off her actually filling a role in the show. But it really just leads to several episodes of her doing nothing in a new locale. Actually, those two are more or less the show's biggest problems by far. Lisa may be the worst character I've seen in a serious show in ages. She does absolutely nothing, and displays this bizarre combination of desire to get involved with the boys terrorism coupled with this complete passivity where she just kinda goes along with them, not even asking why they're doing this or what their plan is. Truly, her only redeeming feature is relatively little screen-time initially. Although that changes as the show goes on. She seems to only be there so she can screw up the boys plans and otherwise get captured and need rescue. Five is also pretty terrible albeit not as bad (but how could she be?) Nothing but a dull "evil, detached psycho" cliche. We never really get to know what her obsession is with Nine beyond that she's totally determined to beat him. Not that Nine is so great either come to think of it. He's pretty one dimensional so far too. Twelve is the only character with any real depth. He's at least got an interesting conflict going, being torn between their quest for revenge and his budding feelings for Lisa. Unfortunately, Lisa is such a plank of wood and this all doesn't surface until late so it is only a small mitigation. Look, don't get me wrong. This is still a surprisingly watchable show if only by virtue of the slick presentation and tight execution that makes it pretty gripping even in the absence of much substance. There's some really amazing sequences here that are worth checking out. They just don't fit into any sort of real worthwhile narrative though which is super disappointing.

Time of Eve (ONA) Excellent

This is a quiet, low key show where not much happens. And yet, by its end, it has delivered a tremendously sweet story with a great emotional payoff. There's a whole lot of media that tackles the topic of robots and humans. But this is a rare gem that really tackles it with such...well, humanity. Really great stuff.

Time of Eve (movie) Excellent

I'm not sure whether I like this theatrical cut better or worse than the original version. There's definitely something to be said for the story as short little vignettes clearly divided into episodes. The cuts between the segments here, at least early on, really tend to stick out. It does even out in the latter part of the film though and the more uninterrupted pace through the last couple segments is a welcome addition. They've added some scenes too, although this is also a slightly mixed bag. I'm fairly indifferent to the scenes with Dr. Ashimori and plot points with Nagi's father Shiotsuki. Time of Eve is a deeply human story and we never particularly needed to know the how and why of things. The added backstory for Nagi herself is quite nice though and is well handled. So all in all, this is at least a perfectly acceptable way to enjoy the Time of Eve.

Tojin Kit (movie) So-so

Some interesting art direction that creates a very effective mood. The concept is never really built on or explained though.

Tokyo ESP (TV) Not really good

So this is basically Tokyo X-Men. Which is cool. Great, dynamic action sequences. Solid, energetic music that definitely helped pump up said action. Very nice art design. Lots of black, heavy shadows but lots of nice splashes of color here and there. In general, just such an energetic show that it was tough not to get caught up in it. Cool villains. The "Professor" has immediate charisma. It's basically neat just to watch him and his crew launch their attack on the city. Meanwhile, our rag tag team of good espers fight them. I like them by the way. Rinka seems alright. A fairly typical hero but not too preachy or tiresome or anything. And the supporting cast seeems okay too for the most part. An interesting power set at least.

The structure of this show is pretty weird though. They start with this big, dramatic, in media res sequence for episode 1, which I didn't actually mind entirely. It was a little awkward at times because they didn't give us much introduction and covered a lot of different characters but honestly, if it's a choice between this and info dumping I definitely find this way more enjoyable. It really wasn't too hard to get what's going on anyway. They do a nice job of setting up that we are indeed coming in right in the middle of things. What with the tanks and blockades and the general lack of surprise when Parliament takes off, its clear that espers exist in this world and have been a source of ongoing strife. They introduce the villains first which works fine. Not so much though introducing those dudes in the orange jumpsuits though. They show up, fight a bit, and then promptly disappear when the actual protagonists turn up.

But then, in what I would definitely call an unfortunate move, the show skips back awkwardly in time to the actual beginning for episode 2. It's not the end of the world but it is frustrating since they more or less pulled off the in media res start and does make me question what the point of the first episode was. All it seemed to really accomplish was to pointlessly introduce us to a bunch of elements (see again, the jumpsuit guys) who have no real bearing on anything as of yet. Plus, they then almost immediately flash back again (temporarily this time) to the previous day. I mean, what? Yeah, that's pretty much the kind of weird structural choices you'll find in this show. It's not horrible. It doesn't ruin the show. It's just super awkward and makes me think the writers don't really know what the heck they're doing.

Pace is also a huge issue. After the flashback, the show proceeds to hurl forward at a breakneck pace and in doing so, undermine a lot of scenes and character moments. It feels like they really just want to get on with the good stuff but evidently felt like they had to adapt the origins in their entirety. It's a shame because, as I mentioned, I don't know that this was true. They could have just kept going from the first episode, or flashed back to more or less any point. The mood is also one big contradictory, bipolar mess. The flashback doesn't really help here. Going from episode 1 to episode 2 is like night and day. But really, they can't even seem to find a consistent tone moment to moment. One minute we're dealing with pretty heavy stuff as seen in the first episode. Murder, kidnapping, some pretty serious violence, terrorism with a very large and overt body count. And then, a martial arts master who is also a 2 ft (stuffed?) panda (which nobody acknowledges) steals Rinka's bra. Yeah. To be fair, that is one the extreme side. They only go to shitty otaku comedy a couple times. But they constantly flicker back and forth to all kinds of very light, comedic antics. It's pretty crazy.

Anyway, I don't want to give the impression that I hate this show entirely. It's just really frustrating and really easy to note its flaws because they're really really overt. What is underneath is mostly solid though. It sure does make me wish they could only sort out all these surface level technical writing issues. Mind you, it kinda falls apart toward the end no matter how you slice it. The plot goes completely off the rails to the point of sheer inscrutability. The execution gets super stiff during the final arc and it really sucks all the energy out of the show. And honestly, the fact that it was fairly energetic was the main thing pulling me through its ample writing issues initially. Plus, not unrelated to the lifeless execution, it becomes painfully clear that they've spent a very disproportionate amount of money on the earlier parts of the show.

Trava (OAV) So-so

A nice, unique visual style with great character designs. Some of the landscapes are particularly beautiful. It's worth seeing for this alone. Some of the interplay between the characters shows promise but is hampered by the rather mumbling, awkwardly timed voice work. The plot spins out of control though as the series goes on, making increasingly less sense. It never really concludes either.

Trigun (TV) Masterpiece (dub & sub)

I should preface this by saying that I am a Trigun fanboy. What can I say? I just love it. I love westerns and I love Sci-Fi. I hadn't even really considered the concept of putting them together before this. More importantly though, Trigun is just so incredibly fun to watch. It does an amazing job of drawing you in and introducing you to its characters in a very casual way and slowly dropping details that develop them and explain the back-story. This is where I feel like it's such a step up from the manga which goes the opposite route and dumps everything on you right off the bat. Then though, in the most wonderfully subtle way, it shifts into something completely different: An amazing study in idealism and pacifism all told through the lens of one of the greatest anime characters ever.

Trigun: Badlands Rumble (movie) Good

A surprisingly mixed bag with some nice highs and some disappointing lows. This movie mostly looks nice. A lot nicer than the TV series. I don't know though. Call me crazy but I'll take the old school arse looking animation over this modern CG. It just looks so fake and doesn't blend in at all with the rest of the show. The first half is also rather draggy. Too much time is spent watching the various characters from the show just basically repeat their wacky antics that we've already seen in the show. It's still mildly entertaining but feels redundant. I also have to wonder why the insurance girls are even in this movie. I know it wouldn't really be a Trigun movie without them but they really don't factor into the plot and leave before the finale. They're fun characters for sure and we get a cute scene or two out of it but I can't help but feel like this movie could have been a tighter and better paced experience without them. The movie also suffers from one of the classic problems of this kind of spinoff movie: It's constrained by the continuity of the series. That's something you can work around but they really don't here. For instance a major plot point late in the film involves Vash seemingly dying but obviously anyone who's seem the series knows this can't be the case. Hence, the whole thing loses it's impact and you're just left waiting for him to make his inevitable return. Anyway, as is the formula for movie spin offs of shows, we're introduced to our requisite two new characters, a villain and a good guy with some connection to said villain. This is really what makes and breaks the movie. The prior is pretty dull and unfortunately the writers don't seem to realize this. He gets a relatively large amount of screen time. It's generally a drag. That said, the other new character, Amelia, really knocks it out of the park. She's really quite well done and has a lot of very poignant scenes. I like her relationship with Vash as well. She raises some interesting questions about Vash's principles that the TV show (great as it may be) never really explored. It's really good stuff. Like the villain, she also gets a whole lot of screen time (she's as much the main character as Vash really) but in this case the movie is better for it. It certainly turns what might have been a mildly disappointing experience into a rather memorable (if still flawed) one.

Twilight of the Dark Master (OAV) Good

This isn't exactly the most ground breaking material and a lot isn't really fleshed out as much as it ought to be. However, what it lacks in plot it more than makes up for in style and atmosphere. The art design here is really fantastic. The use of shadow and contrast is especially cool. The overall atmosphere is excellent thanks partially to the aforementioned art but also due to some creepy and stylish music and a great dub. It all combines do draw you in so well that you pretty much forget about the story.

Twilight Q (OAV) Decent

Though the first episode never lives up to the oh so pretentious 'warning' at the beginning it is still a moderately entertaining if also sort of pointless experience. The second episode is a definite step up though. Despite it's slow pace and the bulk of the story being told via narration with little to no visuals, it's quite a captivating mystery with an effective balance of surreal weirdness and practical investigation. What really makes it stand out though is how at the last minute the reality that has been slowly revealed throughout the episode is suddenly pulled out from under you. Sadly, the way ANN lists this prevents me from giving a different score to each episode but if I could it would be a So-so for ep1 and a Good for ep 2.

Urban Square - Kohaku no Tsuigeki (OAV) Decent

There's something refreshing if not downright fun about an anime that not only realizes it's cliched and cheesy but actually seems to revel in it. That's not to say it tries to play it for laughs or be ironic. It just sort of rolls with it and you know what? It works. There's a reason all these old noir crime and cop show elements are cliche. It's because they're fun. It manages to be silly without being downright stupid, sets a nice tense and energetic mood and has some damn fine classic style action sequences.

Vampire Hunter D (OAV) Awful

Horribly dated and possesses no particular redeeming qualities. A flat, boring, downright generic show.

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (movie) Very good

I would have to call this Kawajiri's best movie. The whole atmosphere is just so engrossing. Gorgeous, Gothic design. Very detailed with lots of deep shadow and nice if also sparing use of deep colour. It's also quite exquisitely animated. Really though the single most outstanding feature is probably the grand and sweeping soundtrack. Really phenomenal stuff.

Venus Wars (movie) Decent

Unfortunately, this is a movie that tries to do more than it probably ought to and is worse for it. There's a little too much self important socio-political posturing going on here which would be fine to some extent but they don't seem very clear on where they want to go with it and as a result they're kind of all over the place. It's not a huge issue but it definitely distracts from what is otherwise a very epic and enjoyable war time melodrama. There's a great feeling of youthful rebellion and anger. The music is fantastic. Yasuhiko's trademark style of character designs look great as usual. The rest of the artwork and mechanical designs have a real nice gritty, super detailed look which makes it all the more impressive that the animation is so top notch (with a few minor exceptions). Despite being more than a little unfocused, the whole thing is a ton of fun.

Vexille - 2077 Isolation of Japan (movie) Not really good

Visually this movie is solid (if often a bit uninspired in terms of art direction). Some of the sequences involving the "Jags" were really nice. The characters looked good too. Certainly a vast improvement over the more or less traditional anime characters pasted over a realistic CGI background that I disliked in Appleseed. Their movements seemed a fair bit awkward at times but then, no worse that other similar movies or most anime in general. It's well paced and the action sequences were enough to keep me entertained throughout although they weren't really especially impressive.

Despite what could be an interesting concept the plot failed to really deliver anything of interest. Even the one big twist had no real impact on me. Maybe that stems from the characters lack of energy and feeling. They were all unexciting and one dimensional. Because of this you never really feel anything for them or care what happens to them. The bottom line it came down to was that the end of the movie I felt like I hadn't even watched it. I must emphasis that this again kept me very entertained throughout. I was certainly never bored. It just left no kind of lasting impression or impact though. Thus I can't really give it that good of a rating.

(The) Vision of Escaflowne (TV) Very good
To Rewatch
Wanwa the Puppy (movie) Not really good

Okay, but not quite as visually impressive as other similar shorts in this collection.

Wasurenagumo (movie) Not really good

You know, the premise of a little moe girl who is (literally) half spider is almost bizarre enough to work. But the problem is, they never really do much of anything with it. She mostly just squeaks a lot and scurries around. And the characters aren't great either. The book seller is completely bland and the other girl is just loud which the writers mistake for funny. It does get a fair bit better once the plot finally gets going in the later half and they start their trip. And there are a couple fairly slick action scenes that bookend the piece. Great ending theme too.


I like this show. It's pretty funny. Not hilarious really (although now and then...) It doesn't generally make me laugh out loud though. But it's awkward, offbeat charm consistently puts a smile on my face. The voice acting is great. They really sell Tomoko's awkwardness and inability to talk to people. And she manages to achieve a very endearing and dichotomous mix of painful self-awareness at times and comical delusion at others. The show can be nicely bittersweet as well and the show definitely knows when to give Tomoko at least a moment of success and happiness even if they are fleeting and often based on misunderstanding so it doesn't turn into just them endlessly wallowing in misery. Also, the bulk of the jokes are actually more at the expense of Tomoko's awkward personality rather than her appearance which I think would have felt too mean spirited. And if they do make fun of her appearance it is more centered around her misguided attempts to look cuter. Also, the OP is metal as fuck. Which really has little to do with the actual show but still. In the end, the show doesn't exactly go anywhere. Tomoko tries to make social progress but largely fails. And that's not a big problem exactly. I couldn't help but feel like by the end I was more than ready to be done with the show. I'd seen what it had to offer.

Welcome to Irabu's Office (TV) Good

A weird, surreal, visually inventive, and generally entertaining enough show. A bit on the hit and miss side. The odd episode strays into the realm of simply nonsensical or silly. But there are some good ones too and the vast majority are at least solid. Could do without the repeated needle sequence every episode though.

Whisper of the Heart (movie) Decent

This is a fine enough movie. A simple, well told little story about a girl coming of age and grappling with her future. Tonally solid. Some nice, low key levity that meshes well with the other somewhat more serious (but never overly dramatized) parts. I particularly enjoyed the focus on Tokyo and some of the beautiful shots of its landscape and architecture. Other than that there isn't really a ton to say. It's fine. Just fine.

Wicked City (movie) So-so

Eh, you could do better and you could do worse. A very mixed bag. Nice visual design although the characters look a bit bland. There's some nice sound effects but music is almost non-existent. The premise is neat but the plot is pretty thin and full of holes. As far as characters go, Taki is okay but Makie is woefully underdeveloped. The action scenes are competent but the sex scenes are so gratuitous that they actually slow down the movie.

(The) Wind Rises (movie) Very good

Complex, nuanced, and deeply personal. There's a ton to dissect here and I'm honestly not sure what to say about it all after just one viewing. It's certainly good. I certainly liked it. I'm not exactly sure how much. The pace could be evened out in places. But all things considered this may just be my favorite Miyazaki movie after Princess Mononoke (although I also really enjoy Porco Rosso).

Witch Hunter Robin (TV) Decent
To Rewatch
Wolf's Rain (TV) Very good

Wolf's Rain is an epic and beautiful series. It looks great. The animation is top notch and the art is quite nice. (I'm not too crazy about a couple of the character designs though). It goes beyond that though. The whole look of this series, the settings, etc are all very well done. The wolves as well as the series overall have a certain majestic quality about them. I particularly love how the characters shift seamlessly between wolf and human. The fight scenes are great as well. They really capture the wolves ferocity.

Unfortunately, Wolf's Rain is also not without it's problems. There are the 4 recap episodes to start, but it's not just that (You can skip them outright anyway). Wolfs rain starts great, really gets going towards the end, but is just too darn slow and scattered in between. It's not even a problem to the point that it's bad. It just doesn't manage to carry nearly the energy nor the epic feeling of the beginning and end. It's a shame because I can't help but think that Wolf's Rain would have been a masterpiece if only it were condensed down to 13 episodes.

Wolf's Rain (OAV) Very good

See now, if the TV series had only managed to be this good throughout it would have been a masterpiece. What an epic, powerful, moving, beautiful conclusion.

World Record (OAV) Good

Nice art design. Especially the buildings in the backgrounds. A very neat concept as well that they really bring across thanks to the sense of force instilled by the animation during the race.

X (TV) Decent

A very good series with a nice visual style and artwork, an effective atmosphere, and a well told story with a good cast of characters. I did feel like it falls apart a bit toward the end though. It's never really made clear what exactly the purpose of the other dragons was. They all start appearing and fighting. There's sorta some mention of them and something about barriers. There's a few battles but in the end they seem to get lost in the background and it all degenerates into Kamui fighting Fuuma. It's still a good show but I think there was room for improvement here.

You're Under Arrest (OAV) Decent

A reasonably fun show. I liked it. Might watch more sometime.

Will not finish Rating
3x3 Eyes (OAV) Awful

Seen: A few episodes | The animation is pretty crappy and I don't much care for the art style. The premise is really not set up very well either. I like the heavy, pounding music but that's about it. Sanjiyan is an absolute, unapologetic bitch who is 100% selfish. Pai is really annoying and overly cutesey. In many way's she's just as bad as her other personality Sanjiyan too. Sure, she may not be aware of her but all the same, she's perfectly happy to turn up on Yakumo's doorstep and basically insist that he help her and there by put himself through a massive amount of hardship, danger and pain. Not to mention that for no discernible reason, she keeps a giant monster in her staff which she promptly misplaces and forgets about. Predictably, somebody picks it up and the monster gets out because it's just that bloody easy. It tears through the city putting numerous folks in danger. Of course she insists Yakumo go after it (not because it might hurt somebody, because she's worried about her dear beloved pet monster). Inevitably, this results in Yakumo's death. She saves him (which incidentally makes him her magical slave) but when you consider that her own inexplicable recklessness and willingness to dump all her problems on this poor stranger are 100% responsible for his death...well it's pretty unforgivable even if you assume that saving him was a selfless act (and not just her wanting a magical slave guardian).

It get's worse too. In the second episode, the show takes the altogether unnecessary step of having Yakumo try to return to his normal life. Mind you, this is after he has already done everything he can to help Pai despite everything she's done to him. Of course, as a side effect that nobody bothered to mention, Sajiyan's presence attracts more monsters which proceed to not just make Yakumo suffer but his close friends as well. At one point, Yakumo finally gets frustrated and tells Pai off (very mildly) but not only does she completely shrug it off and continue on in utter ignorance, he actually feels bad about it afterward. This my friends is what we call a horribly destructive relationship. The one person is a borderline psychopath with no regard for the other or indeed even an ability to understand the need to consider others. The other person is in borderline denial and is so twisted around by the first that he actually puts others he cares about in danger in his desperate plea to help her. I'm actually tempted to finish this just to see Yakumo eventually snap and beat Pai to death because let's face it, with him being immortal that's the only way this relationship is going to end.

Ace Attorney (TV) Weak

Seen: An episode | Did you know Ace Attorney is an adaptation of a popular video game series? You certainly will if you watch it. I dared to hope that this could be a good show and in principle I stand by that. You could make a pretty good show out of Ace Attorney if you were willing to actually adapt it. This show is so mindlessly faithful though that it falls utterly flat. It doesn't really work as a stand-alone story but lacks the appeal of actually playing a game as well. Couple that with some of the most shockingly poor production values I've seen in recent days and there is just literally no reason to watch this. Go play the game. It's superior in every way.

After War Gundam X (TV) Decent

Seen: A dozen episodes or so | Not bad series by any means. I like the somewhat post-apocalyptic setting rather than a conventional one. I'd actually somewhat like to finish this but I doubt I ever will get around to doing so.

Akame ga KILL! (TV) Awful

Seen: 1 episode | Okay, am I the only one PROFOUNDLY bothered by why the main character is wearing a beige sweater alongside his leather monster fighting ensemble and in the middle of this period fantasy show!? Seriously what is up with that somebody tell me!!! I mean, I can at least sorta forgive the main girl's pseudo-schoolgirl outfit because it has at least been stylized to look vaguely fantasy-ish. But what is up with that sweater!? Anyway though, it's a shame with this show. It is pretty polished, and even decently executed. Solid production values. A mostly (see above) decent aesthetic. Really fantastic music. Probably the best of any show this season. Falls victim to relatively few otaku tropes or terrible tendencies in anime writing. It really makes me with this studio/staff were adapting a different manga, because this one seems pretty terrible. Seriously, here are some lessons you will learn watching this show: (1) Everyone is secretly a horrible sadist psychopath. Even (especially?) little girls. (2) Naive people who don't share this nihilistic view are stupid and deserve what they get. (3) Women (or "boobs" as they're repeatedly called) will steal your money or waste it on clothes. (4) Subtlety isn't a thing that exists. It's basically a nonsense word like "gabloobbity". Neither is tonal consistency. Yeah, this is the absolute lowest common denominator of awful, insubstantial, childish misanthropy for its own sake. It's so eye rollingly stupid that it isn't even unintentionally funny.

Aldnoah.Zero (TV) Weak

Seen: 3 episodes | A bit of a mixed bag. Looks decent. High production values. (Although the mechs don't do much for me.) Good music. I liked the way things played out with the assassination and all that actually triggering the war. A little very early exposition aside, the episode seemed quite well written and executed (and even the exposition was nicely compact). On the downside, the princess is insufferably perky, although [spoiler]I guess she blowed up maybe[/spoiler] so...yeah. And that last scene was painfully on the nose. Really, this show is not very subtle at all. The villains are all super over the top evil, which I might not mind if the show didn't take itself so seriously, but it does. Also, this whole 30-whatever totally separate militaries all competing with each other strains credulity. In fact, the whole world could use some building. I'm not all that sure how to interpret the balance of power (or lack there of) between Earth and Mars. Why exactly did they wait this long to attack when they clearly have such an overwhelming advantage? And if nothing else, watching a bunch of invincible martian mechs tear through wave after wave of earth mechs is the antithesis of exciting. Anyway, I'm not gonna get around to pursuing this.

Amnesia (TV) Weak

Seen: A few episodes | As I rule I would say, if you ever pass out, and when you wake up you can't remember anything but a floating elf man that [i]only you can see[/i] tells you not to go to the hospital...DO NOT LISTEN. You have suffered serious head trauma and need to seek immediate medical attention. But seriously, there's actually some decent stuff here. The art design is really rather nice. The costumes are super detailed and while undeniably silly, quite good looking. The premise seems at least interesting too. Amnesia has been done to death but the notion that she has to pretend to be fine and try and figure out who she is and who all these people are to her is interesting at least potentially. In execution though...eh, not so much. I'm not really sure what this show will actually be [i]about[/i]. Too much time was spent on her basically just hanging around awkwardly surrounded by her attractive guy friends. This is something I can tolerate to a degree but only so long as it isn't all the show has going on. In the end, this show isn't doing enough that I'm likely to pursue it. But there certainly seem to be worse shows out there.

Argevollen (TV) Weak

Seen: 2 episodes | Well, this is certainly a show. I don't know. First episode didn't give me that much to actually judge. Lots of characters and multiple points of focus. Looks okay. As far as CG mechs go, these at least blend somewhat and they aren't too overdesigned. I like how there's a lot of variation in their movement from the super clunky grunt mechs to the speedy new models. But...eh. The characters are doing absolutely nothing for me. Basically, this looks like it might end up being a sorta okay enough show. But I haven't seen the slightest indication at any ambition or potential to be remotely notable. Gonna pass on it until I hear otherwise.

Arpeggio of Blue Steel - Ars Nova (TV) Bad

Seen: 1 episode | I'll give this show a little credit. Some of the CG looks pretty good when standing perfectly still. Mind you, there were obviously some points where they just switched to traditional animation. The fact that I was often not immediately sure which I was looking at should speak to how effectively they (sometimes) aped the look of traditional drawing. That said, as soon as any of them start to move the show becomes borderline unwatchable. The movement is so stiff and robotic. It looks like something someone slapped together in a couple hours to meet the deadline for their class project. Plus all of the background characters look absolutely horrendous. They wouldn't be called passable in an early era PS2 video game. And that's not just in terms of movement. They look just as atrocious standing still. Clearly the effort that was put into the main characters was done at the expense of the extras. Also, the writing isn't great either. The story is poorly structured and jumps from the present to two years in the past to run us through the origin of things and then back to the present. It's awkward, unnecessary and leaves neither part of the episode feeling satisfying. None of the characters seem at all interesting and I can't shake the feeling that 90% of the reason this show exists is just to personify cool battleships (which otaku like) as cute lolita girls (which otaku REALLY like).

Assassination Classroom (TV) Not really good

Seen: A couple episodes | So this is okay. It was vastly more serious than I expected. Although, I don't think that was a bad thing. Silly and contrived as the premise may be, they're managing to carry it okay even while being relatively serious about it. And when the show did try to be funny it acquitted itself quite well. None of the bad hyperactive comedy that puts me off and a few odd little moments that did make me laugh. Basically a case of just not really in any way notable enough to keep me coming back. Watchable I guess, but no real reason you need to watch.

Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation (TV) Decent

Seen: About Half | This show plays out like something right out of the jerk-ass genius detective procedural genre which is so popular in the west but isn't really something you see much of in anime. It's reasonably well done all things considered. It requires more than a little suspension of disbelief in that the show makes little effort to explain why the two main characters are allowed to regularly run around and act ostensibly like police. Beyond that though, the writing is quite strong and is more than up to the task of delivering effective episodic mysteries. Fairly pretty visuals (and especially backgrounds) and a nice musical score help a lot too.

Berserk (TV 2016)
You know what's weird? In episode 2 of this show, they've elected to do the collective couple minutes of flashbacks in traditional animation. Virtually nothing else, but every single flashback. It's a really weird creative choice. It's very deliberate but I'm not sure what they were trying to accomplish. It really just serves as a depressing window into what this could have been though. I mean, boy this looks bad. This may actually look worse than usual in fact. In attempting to capture Miura's very detailed and relatively realistic art style I think they may have actually pushed things deeper into the uncanny valley of bad anime CG. I hate the shading effect too. It seems like a rather desperate attempt to give the show's bad CG art some much needed grit. I guess that's good in principle but in practice, the two don't blend at all. The CG [i]still[/i] looks sterile and uncanny just with a lot of also ugly smudges slapped on top. Maybe if they'd at least use it a little more sparingly but they kinda just slather it on everywhere. That's just the art too. The less that's said of the actual animation the better. It's a shame, because while the animation renders this practically unwatchable, it's otherwise really well done. The direction is quite strong with lots of interesting angles and compositions. It's occasionally a tad choppy or disorienting but overall it works. The music is really good too. And while there isn't a ton to say about the story yet, it's still Berserk which (even post-eclipse) is still really strong. I so wish this had gotten a proper traditionally animated adaptation. It would have been amazing.
Black Bullet (TV) Weak

Seen: 3 episodes | You know, this is the kind of show that frustrates me the most. In a lot of ways it's a pretty good action show. The fights are nice. It looks pretty good. But of course they've just gotta cram in a bunch of otaku tropes. There's one loli girl who totally wants to bone the main character. Because of course there is. And there's another giant boobed tsundere schoolgirl who runs the agency who tries to punch him. Because again, of course there is. It's just a bummer y'know? Like, there could so easily be a decent show here. But they've gotta ruin it by going to this stuff. Although that said, I'm becoming less and less convinced that much of value is being lost as the show goes on. Besides the action it is mostly just okay at best. And the story is starting to flounder. The villain shows up just to reveal his plan for no particular reason. Plus, they're doing that same old, super heavy handed and contrived discrimination scenario. It's all really over the top and there's little here beyond shameless emotional manipulation.

Blade & Soul (TV) So-so

Seen: 5 episodes | Well, if nothing else this wins the coveted "way better than I expected" award. I wouldn't call it good but not too bad either. The action is pretty slick and the animation looks pretty nice. There are a few drops in quality control but the animation is pretty fluid and detailed. I more or less like the art design too. And the costumes, even though they're fairly goofy and sexed up, have a certain flair. Speaking of that, the degree of fanservice is also surprisingly tolerable. Yeah, every character has gigantic boobs and a costume that accentuates them but all things considered, they're a hell of a lot less in your face about it than usual. I sure do which they'd do more (or anything really) with the main character though. She's completely blank, in fact she barely speaks, and she has no clear motivation or goal whatsoever for anything she does. She literally just seems to kinda go along with whatever anyone tells her. Anyway, probably never going to get around to finishing this, just because I've got other things to do and stuff to watch. But yeah. Not too bad actually.

Bleach (TV) Bad

Seen: A bunch. I don't know | I kinda don't get what people see in Bleach. I'll take DBZ or even Naruto over this any day of the week. (And I don't really consider either of those good either.) Nothing about the series works for me. I find the characters to be generic and uninteresting and their designs rather ugly. The monsters are also ugly, silly looking and generic. There isn't really anything particularly cool about it. There was just nothing here to make this worth watching.

Blood Lad (TV) Not really good

Seen: 5 episodes | This show makes very little sense but that's sorta what makes it work. It's just so energetic and in your face that you can't help but enjoy it. The art design is excellent. So colorful and vibrant. Fuyumi is kinda walking a fine line. She's mostly just there to blush and have boobs. But she's occasionally kinda funny and this is a ridiculous enough show that I can tolerate the moderate dumbness of the fanservice. The pace kinda bottomed out in episode 2 though which really sucks a lot of the fun out of it. Episode 3 was a bit better though. Generally though, the show seems to shifting more toward supernatural adventure and away from zany comedy. Can't say I'm really buying into it.

Blood+ (TV) Weak

Seen: A half dozen episodes or so | I have trouble buying the nice quiet young girl who is actually a super powerful vampire. It just seems silly. Even in a more general sense, the whole series clashed for me. It was too cute and friendly and light at times which didn't work with the dark side of it. Maybe I shouldn't knock it too much. I had high expectations because of the Blood movie. This really has little to do with that though aside from a similar concept and vaguely similar characters.

Brynhildr in the Darkness (TV) Weak

Seen: 2 episodes | You know, this isn't a terrible show. I guess I was a little intrigued by the backstory and the mystery surrounding Kuroha. And the bulk of this show isn't remotely bad. It's just really bland. It hits all the usual dark fantasy notes. It's mostly fine. But if you're going to be this aggressively bland and generic, it really can't afford to do anything that annoys me, no matter how slight. I mean, the gratuitous swimsuit scenes weren't too bad. Certainly they could have been way worse. And same goes for the dumb, blushing conversations between dumb dumb "I can't math" Kuroha and the main character. You might get away with that in a show I found more appealing otherwise. But in a show this lacking in real, strong appeal it kinda leaves me with a negative impression by default. It also has some pretty serious tonal issues. It flips back and forth between super dark and goofy slice of life antics. Also, I have a disturbing suspicion that the completely paralyzed gothic lolita tsundere girl is someone's very particular fetish, and that's just creepy on a number of levels.

Buddy Complex (TV) Weak

Seen: 6 episodes | Looks pretty good. CG is solid as far as these things go and is used very sparingly. Much of the action actually looks hand drawn which is great. And the fights are extremely well choreographed. Purely in terms of cool mecha action this show is one of the best I've seen in a long time. In terms of everything else though...eh. It's about as cliched as you can get with mecha. And while that isn't exactly a killer, it offers little appeal. Also, time travel, the show's one unique feature, is tricky. Rarely if ever does it not end up being at least a bit convoluted and this is no exception. The end of episode 1 (with Hina literally disappearing when they travel forward) doesn't make much sense. It does show some promise mind you. I like how nothing quite adds up once he gets to the future. He is told Dio is waiting but Dio has no idea who he, or Hina seemingly, are. And Hina appears to be a soldier for the other side. Although I'm sorry to say that this conflict basically gets touched on in episode 2 and then shelved. Really, this whole show takes a nose dive at that point. Yeah, the fights are still good but all the tension vanishes and the show settles into a boring formula. Each episode is just 2/3rds the crew dicking about, hanging around, and goofing off. Then the bad guys show up and they have a one off little skirmish with absolutely no meaningful results on anything. And that's it. Rinse repeat. Oh and by episode 6, the goofing off aspect has shifted from (somewhat tonally inappropriate) general goofiness to downright inane "swimsuit photoshoot" because reasons. At which point the show lost whatever serious story cred it had remaining.

Bungo Stray Dogs (TV) Not really good

Seen: A couple episodes | There's a potentially decent show in here somewhere. It's just a shame that its buried under a mountain of truly bad anime comedy. The premise is interesting enough. I think I might have gotten more out of it if I actually knew who any of these people were but still. If nothing else it seems like it will give rise to a more interesting collection of superpowers than usual. It's a bit tough to judge the characters since they don't get a lot to actually do so far. Still, they seem alright. If nothing else though, this show looks great. I'm a sucker for period costumes and the show has a pretty nice art style. It also has a lovely color palate, some impressive composition and solid production values. But yeah, when literally two thirds of your show is just loud noises/overreaction/reaction face it's tough to call it a good or even watchable show overall.

Burst Angel (TV) Bad

Seen: A few episodes | Welcome to the world of Burst Angel, where apparently stuff doesn't have to make sense or be explained in any way because its the future and hot girls are blowing stuff up. Now there is some decent action and great looking animation. However its tough to enjoy this stuff unless you can repress your WTF reflex. That part of your mind that pushes you to wonder: "why can this girl transform into a monster that can control the minds of others?" or "what on earth do they keep meg around for?" or finally, "why oh why would someone build a giant lifelike robotic crow, which can inexplicably control other crows, that needs to kidnap people to use for energy, for a simple theft." yeah...WTF?

C – Control – The Money and Soul of Possibility (TV) Weak

Seen: 4 or 5 episodes | Looks nice but poorly paced and executed. The show flops between overstuffed and empty. Doesn't really seem to have much of anything to actually say about business or money. Mostly just a half baked rambling and empty, financially themed window dressing. The fights aren't very good either. There's a whole lot of noise and light (and plenty of gratuitous English) but they're barely even coherent. I only half get the rules.

Captain Earth (TV) Not really good

Seen: 4 or 5 episodes | This show is pretty overwhelming in terms of plot. One episode in and we're just swamped with more characters and plot threads than I can keep track of. And yet, it kinda works. The show pulls off this mass of tangled threads through sheer energy and excitement. It actually left me intrigued to find out where all this is going. And it looks gorgeous too. Bones at its finest. Unfortunately, the show struggles a bit once it slows down. Plot wise, we've mostly just been dealing with this douchebag bureaucrat within their own organization. He's so over the top though, ie. he makes the kids wear shock collars, has a creepy thing for the girl, and almost immediately tries to murder Daichi. I really hope they wrap this crap up soon and start doing more with the extraterrestrial bad guys. Although, I kinda hope they start doing more of anything period. So far, it's mostly been a lot of farting around. We meet the zany (read: mostly loud and annoying) hacker girl. Then all the kids move into a house together because of course they do. Oh, and we get a totally inane (all the more so by virtue of it being in an an otherwise not like this show) ecchi moment where the main girl inexplicably walks into the living room naked. *Sigh* Episode 4 was a distinct step up though. Some big pieces of the plot fall into place finally and we actually focus on the Kiltgang guys. Generally though I'm not really feeling this. Might pick it up again at some point but probably not.

Chaika - The Coffin Princess (TV) So-so

Seen: About half | There's a lot to like about this show. Looks gorgeous. Cool monsters. Great action. No, seriously, you've gotta check out the fights in this show. They're really fast, energetic and well choreographed. Really the kind of stuff you just don't see that often with the limited budgets of most TV animation, especially these days. The writing and direction are also mostly strong. Solidly executed. Very little exposition or awkwardness. All the little things that tend to be lacking are well handled here. I more or less like the main character too. He actually seems like a real character with his own thought and motivations. And it seems like an interesting scenario with some nice complexity. I mean, he is essentially the bad guy by all rights. He says he doesn't care what helping Chaika does. He'd prefer a world at war. But does he mean that? Or does he just want to help Chaika who claims to be innocent and just wants to bury her father? You've gotta feel like the soldier guys who are trying to stop her are in an understandable position too though. All that said, the negatives really pile up too. The biggest flaw, just in case you somehow couldn't guess, is Chaika herself. She talks in this inane, broken speech. She acts like a kid. She's so desperately cute. It's pretty tiresome. And it is so over the top that it really undermines her as a serious character. Plus, especially as the show goes on, it really starts to pile on the LN tropes. The sister, who I otherwise quite like, goes into an increasingly overt siscon thing. And now they've inherited a super cutesey (even more than Chaika is seems) cat girl. So I don't know. Another show for the "I could finish this sometime but probably won't" pile.

Chaos Dragon (TV) Bad

Seen: 1 episode | I don't often bother to comment on shows I've only seen a single episode of (especially if they're just highly unremarkable). But this is an interesting case in that this is a show based on a tabletop RPG played by Gen Urobuchi (Madoka, Psycho-Pass, etc) Kinoko Nasu (Fate/Stay Night, etc) and Ryohgo Narita (Baccano, Durarara) and two others. The anime is also being written by Shou Aikawa (FMA, Angel Cop). So yeah...that's something that at least bears checking out. Unfortunately, it's probably the most generic thing this season. Not even so overwhelmingly bad. Just the epitome of uninspired, unremarkably executed, generic fantasy fare. This is a little surprising at first but really, when you think about it more deeply, it isn't at all surprising. You know how when you're mixing paint and you add a whole bunch of different colors...and no matter how bright and vibrant those colors are, when you mix them together enough they just inevitably turn into a big ugly, brownish mess? Yeah. I think having so many creative voices here probably prevented any of them from actually doing what they do to make their respective works good (or at least unique). Although, it might also be said that they simply put the wrong people in charge here. Makoto Sanda, who's only discernible achievement is Rental Magica, actually wrote the original scenario for them so perhaps that explains a lot about the premise. Also, it seems like they've elected to put the player characters created by the two LN authors of no particular renown in the lead role instead of any other the more potentially interesting characters created by the big three I mentioned earlier.

Colorful (TV) Not really good

Seen: About half | You know, this is not bad. In fact, it's probably the best ecchi anime ever. It cuts to the point. It's actually pretty funny and sadly, quite true. It's somewhat marred by it's overly jumpiness and sometimes awkward comedic timing as well as the incessant attempts to be weird and surreal during the between parts and in the end it does kind of become boring after a while.

Comet Lucifer (TV) Decent

Seen: 8 Episodes | This show plays things pretty safe with a lot of familiar mecha show tropes. It actually works okay though since they're fairly well executed. Bright, colorful visuals. Smooth, kinetic animation. The mecha designs are reasonably distinct and not too over-designed. Also, this is some of the better mecha CG I've seen out of anime. It blends well with the traditional animation and they've captured the sense of weight in the movements that is often lacking. CG is never gonna be my preference but I don't feel like I can call it any sort of huge issue here. Things roll along at a nice, energetic pace. It has a pretty solid, upbeat soundtrack too that keeps things lively. It has a pretty great sense of humor about itself and they really know how to stage an action sequence which is rather rare these days. The characters are fun and generally likable too. And while the main character and his magical girlfriend may be fairly generic, side chars like Kaon and Roman are pretty great.

Concrete Revolutio (TV) Weak

Seen: A few episodes | Honestly, this show feels an awful lot like a manual for how not to execute your wacky, zany, throw everything out there, experimental animation story. I mean, I'm more or less happy to put the details and logic of the plot aside and just roll with whatever weird nonsense they come up with. If that's what you're going for though you really need to cut to the chase. This show however has a serious tendency towards over-explanation. I truly don't care why your giant alien sentai dudes are invisible, and having to listen to a long, detailed explanation of it just drags the pace of the show right down into the muck. The plot itself also seems far more convoluted than it needs to be. A show this utterly weird has absolutely no business dicking around with shifting time periods, especially in the first episode. And at least give us some time to get comfortable with your story points before you start adding in a bunch of twists contradicting them. The kicker too is that I actually don't think I like this show visually either. I appreciate them trying to do something different but the result is so discordant and overstuffed that I don't actually care for it.

Coppelion (TV) Bad

Seen: 4 or 5 episodes | Well...at least the backgrounds are really nice. Very lush and detailed. I can't even say this is a "good looking" show though overall as the animation isn't at all noteworthy and I rather dislike the character designs. The super thick black outlines and generally simple style completely clash with all the super realistic backgrounds. Also, schoolgirl outfits make an already tenuous premise even more blatantly unbelievable. In terms of writing, a lot about the plot doesn't make a great deal of sense. We're 4 episodes in and I still don't really get how this is all supposed to work. I mean, how exactly have people survived all this time? And for that matter, why do they even need Coppelion? The military can still drop in via helicopter albeit for a short time only and can apparently fly around above the city indefinitely. Really, this whole scenario just seems terribly ill conceived. What's more, there's a ton of contrivances and holes in the simple, episode to episode stories. This whole arc with the plane has been completely ridiculous. There's also absolutely no subtlety here at all. All the emotion is completely overwrought. Within two episodes they've completely beaten this theme of the girls as dolls into the ground. Plus, the characters are all pretty one note and stereotypical. I also wish they weren't quite so...screechy. And if I have to keep listening to Aoi refer to herself in the 3rd person... Yeah, I think I'm done.

Dai - Shogun - Great Revolution (TV) Worst ever

Seen: 1 episode | Wow, this may actually be the worst show of the season. It's barely coherent. This guy I guess wants to conquer Japan and no, forget that. So he's trying to find this woman because of reasons and no, forget that too. So there's this other woman who is killing dudes also for reasons an...nope! Robots now! And he gets a special one because reasons! Did we mention there's some conspiracy going on in ed...oh balls the credits are rolling! Quick, just cram in the fight behind them I guess. And done. The humor is no better than the plot by the way. It seems to be operating purely on the hope that if people talk loud and fast enough, it will just become funny even though there are few actual jokes, let alone any funny ones. It's the epitome of moronic, over exaggerated boob jokes. Again, this is just...rancid stuff. This makes bloody Daimdaler look like a gem.

Daimidaler: Prince vs. Penguin Empire (TV) Bad

Seen: 1 episode | You know, this show isn't actually without appeal. There are a few funny moments. I particularly liked when the teacher chides the main character over his uniform, which is immaculate...but totally different from the rest of the school. I definitely like the retro, clunky robots too. Buuuuuuut then there's the rest of the show. Boob jokes. Specifically, groping them. Because that's hilarious and not a criminal offense. Consequently, Main character is a massive scumbag. Plus, the animation is shit. The character designs are butt ugly. The penguin guys are so sloppily drawn. They're just vaguely human shaped blobs. Right now, the good bits are hardly worth sitting through the awful stuff.

Danganronpa The Animation (TV) Awful

Seen: A few episodes | Boring lead. Sprawling cast. Characters are all one note cliches. And not even the good "hey, maybe you could at least build something on this at some point" archetypes. Just ridiculous nonsense. Character designs that are all over the place too. There's no sense that half of these characters even belong in the same show as one another. Oh and it does that insufferable thing where it still presents everything just like a game. Seriously. What is even the point of this if you're just gonna do absolutely everything you can to make the show feel like you're playing the game? If I wanted that I'd play the bloody game. I actually could see liking the mystery elements here. Although even they are diminished by the faux-game popups that basically tell you "This is the evidence. It will come up at the trial" and the show's breakneck pace which precludes any possibility of red herrings and reduced the show to little more than a desperate bid to belch out all the relevant props that will reveal the killer. So basically, if I haven't been clear...this is a big old shit stew.

Darker than Black (TV) Not really good

Seen: About a half dozen episodes | I expected something different. Something a lot...darker. With the exception of a few parts, it felt relatively light-hearted. It was somewhat redeemed by the decent action. However it was severely lacking in plot. Though the characters showed promise, they were all so quiet that you never got to know them at all. Maybe it gets better but it started so slow that I can't be bothered to find out.

Deadman Wonderland (TV) Bad

Seen: About 10 episodes | This show starts sort of okay but quickly degenerates into an utter mess. This show tries way too hard to be not just dark but also really deliberately sadistic. They very deliberately careen wildly back and forth between overly sweet and ridiculously grim. At first I liked how they did this. (ie. playing up Ganta's happy high school life only to tear it all down in the most brutal way possible). However, once you begin to recognize the pattern it quickly begins to feel pretty tacky. There's nothing wrong with a grim and sadistic show of course but when it doesn't flow naturally from the plot, when it feels like they're just trying deliberately to be as sadistic as possible, it just seems trite.

The whole premise at this point seems ridiculously contrived as well. They never really bother to even try and address any of these issues either by explaining how this all works. Everyone just sort of seems to wander around the prison at will. (Even in the ultra-secret G block). I could see that if this was just sort of a "fence em in and leave em to their own devices" kind of thing but then with the exception of the apparent total lack of control, it's this tremendously well kept and more or less structured environment. Everything is neat and clean and organized. There's some guards turn up on occasion but they don't seem to really exert any power over the prisoners. The collars would potentially make much security redundant but then if the hunt for Ganta is any indication, the collars are completely beyond the control of the guards. The whole prison basically seems to operate under the (apparently valid) assumption that all these dangerous, psychotic criminals, many of whom have super powers, are all just perfectly civil and well behaved folk who wouldn't hurt a fly. I mean, for goodness sake, the director apparently just wanders around G block all by himself with no protection whatsoever in among the super-powered killing machines that he systematically tortures. Seriously, how is this man still breathing???

The [spoiler]Carnival of Corpses fights seem equally absurd. Just based on the number of fights and the likely mortality rate, I gotta figure they must go through at least a Dead Man a week. This begs the question: Where do they keep getting em? Is the director managing to go out and frame a good fifty some people a year for murder? Also, would this mean that there are hundreds of Dead Men out there that aren't drawn into Wonderland? Also, the punishment game would seem to have some glaring problems too. I mean, they all act like getting a body part chopped out is no biggie and happens frequently to all of them. Minatsuki mentions casually that she's already had her stomach removed. Am I the only one that sees a serious problem with that statement?

Speaking of Minatsuki, she's quickly becoming a cancer within the show. I'm not even going to comment on the couple of "wacky hi-jinks" ecchi moments they somehow felt were appropriate to throw in. That just left me speechless. There's more beyond that anyway. She's not entirely as sympathetic as the writers seem to believe. She's mostly just a raging psychotic bitch honestly. Also, at least in her first appearance there was an interesting twist. However, since then, she seems to be slowly morphing into a more typical tsundere cliche (albeit a grossly more extreme one that usual). Not only is that cliche annoying as usual it also doesn't particularly jive with the initial impression of her. The other characters are not actually much better either. Ganta is tolerable if a bit of a perpetual moper. He's hardly a particularly likeable or interesting protagonist though. Shiro is virtually devoid of any real personality unless you consider loud to be a personality. They haven't done particularly much with any other character either as nobody else has really been given the attention necessary to develop them.

No, sorry but this is just a bad show. I really really wanted to like it but it just blows.

Death Note (TV) Weak

Seen: About half I think | Look, I'll give credit were it's due.. It's a fun story with twist after twist. Once the initial premise is established you're immediately hooked on the battle of wits between Kira and L. Let's be honest here though. Death Note is not some sort of dark, intelligent meditation on morality. It's a shounen kids show. It's like Dragonball Z except instead of big, absurd, flying fist fights it's got big, absurd cat and mouse battles of wits. It's really no less ridiculous. L's whole existence as a character is just silly. The absurd level of detail in the various back and forth (such as number of cameras in Light's house plus how he got around them, just to use an example). Again though, the show is still moderately entertaining despite all this.

Here's where the show loses me: The characters. They're all just so irritating. Kira is just such a massive douche. Regardless of whether you agree agree with what he's doing, it's tough to believe he is ever motivated by anything but his own massive ego. He doesn't ever once show even a hint of compassion toward any other human being. He never seems to question what he's doing either even when he starts killing innocent people in pursuit of his goals. In fact, that's the general problem with this show. They don't really ever seem to actually tackle any of the lofty issues they raise. I also have to question his whole plan. He can only kill people already in jail or known to be guilty. So really, all he is doing is inflicting far harsher sentencing on people already convicted. He has no means whatsoever to punish those who haven't already been caught and punished to a lesser extent. Knowing that if you're caught you will die would deter crime, but as things are now people already know they stand an equal chance of being caught and punished to a lesser extent and obviously crime is still a problem. He isn't going to solve a damn thing unless he can kill people without them already being caught by the authorities. Again, this is never really addressed. I would think someone as smart as Kira would see this glaring flaw.

Moving on to other characters, L is an asshole. I get that there are extenuating circumstances but what happened to human rights? He puts camera's lights house and massively invades his and his families privacy based on next to no actual evidence that any of them have done anything wrong. That's even relatively minor. He basically kidnaps Misa and has her tortured to the point where she wants to kill herself and once again, based on what? That he found hair and fibres on the tapes!? That's a long way from definitively knowing she is one of the Kiras. Hell, even if he did know that definitively what he did is highly questionable. Again though, here's the real problem: The show just kind of skims over these things like they're no big deal. They don't ever really show much of a desire to seriously tackle the issues they're raising. Of course there's also Misa. However while she occasionally borders on likable, she is so pathetic and stupid in her obsession with Kira that its pretty tough to not dislike her as well. It's tough to watch a show when you hate all the characters.

I don't know, maybe I'm taking the show too seriously. Again, I'll give it credit for being sort of fun. I have a tough time not expecting more though because it doesn't really present itself in the somewhat cheesy way that other shounen anime that can't really be taken entirely seriously do. It seems like it tries to take on some heavy concepts but ultimately lacks the maturity required to actually do so. As a result, it's not actually dark or intelligent. It just plays at it to attract a bunch of dumb kids who feel like they're being edgy.

Devil Survivor 2 The Animation (TV) Bad

Seen: 2 episodes | This is a show that exists. It has episodes that last approximately 22 minutes during which characters do things. Not really much else to say about it. There's absolutely nothing interesting or notable about this show, although admittedly nothing overtly off-putting either. Although I suppose that the lack of actual positive qualities is itself a negative quality in a sense and will undoubtedly prevent me from watching more than another episode or two barring some change. Other than that, what can I say? Nice ending theme I guess?

Devils and Realist (TV) Not really good

Seen: Maybe 4 episodes | This is alright. Looks nice. The action scenes were really fairly strong. Nice character designs. Colorful and distinct but without being too overwhelmingly busy. Story so far is more or less fine. Seems like an somewhat entertaining premise. Dips a little into exposition here and there but generally well executed enough. Decent sense of humor too. The gag of the main character constantly trying to explain stuff rationally is reasonably funny. Honestly though, this is one of those shows that just...eh. It's fine. I can certainly watch it and be entertained to the bare minimum degree I need to be to get through the half hour. But is it doing anything remotely interesting or unique enough to give me any reason to actually pursue it unless I'm just straight up killing time? Nope.

Dimension W (TV) Weak

Seen: a few episodes | This is a really tiresome show. It was a bit bland to begin with as an action/sci-fi and it's really just dull and incomprehensible as a horror/mystery. It's definitely trending in overall style more and more towards the realm of goofy (if also pretty grimdark) action spectacle than anything approaching more serious or substantial sci-fi. I've come to realize that I don't actually like the character either. I'm sure Kyōma will have some tragic backstory eventually but as it stands he's really just a surly, caustic ass just because he can be. Mira on the other hand is just endlessly naive and chipper to the point of being a bit tiresome herself. It makes the show's rather pronounced love of putting her through the ringer also feel a bit sadistic for its own sake. Ditto the fanservice which tends to skew heavily towards the cruel and demeaning end of the spectrum. Finally, The visual aesthetic is rather off-putting too. It's not very nice to begin with but on top of that it's also very disjointed. Between Kyoma, Mira, Loser, and this latest hunter girl, it looks like the cast all wandered in from a bunch of entirely different shows.

Ergo Proxy (TV) So-so

Seen: Maybe 10 episodes | To me, Ergo Proxy is sort of like a bad version of Ghost in the Shell (A great example of an anime that is somewhat slowly paced but is still very good). In that regard I don't even hate Ergo Proxy [i]that[/i] much. It deserves a lot of credit for looking great with some stylish artwork, setting and character designs or for that matter, just for being vaguely original instead of the usual cookie cutter crap.

The major problem however is that it's not even vaguely compelling or intriguing to watch. A good slow paced anime may move slow but it still draws you in and makes you want to watch more. Ergo Proxy does not. It just meanders gloomily along, reciting pretentious, unsubtle philosophy while not really going anywhere or even giving you any reason to want to see what happens next. Definitely a major disappointment because I thought it had a lot of potential.

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya (TV) Weak

Seen: A couple episodes | This isn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I mean, it's still bad obviously. There's plenty of loli fanservice and beyond that the show just isn't really very interesting. But the production values are high and it at least seems vaguely self aware of how silly, pandering and cliche this all is (although not to the point of actually saying anything about it).

(The) File of Young Kindaichi Returns (TV) Not really good

Seen: 2 episodes | You know, I think I like the idea of this show more than I actually like this show. I like the idea of this kind of down to earth mystery story. But the execution is subpar at best. The writing is simply not that strong. It's frequently unbelievable and built on a lot of contrivances. It often doesn't make a lot of sense.

From the New World (TV) Not really good

Seen: I wanna say 15, 16 episodes? | You know what would make this show [i]significantly[/i] better? If they just cut out episodes...lets say 3 to 7. There are some interesting elements to this show. Namely, the mystery surrounding the village. There are a lot of hints that something shady is going on in this village. Most apparently, kids are disappearing...or something. But this plot point basically gets brought up in episode 1 and then more or less dropped until roughly episode 8-9. There are a couple offhand mentions but the actual characters are pretty much unaffected by it and oblivious to it. For instance, at the end of episode 2 they just kinda mention via voice over "the kid who cheated disappeared and was erased from the record...but nobody really cared". Wait. What? It's pretty nonsensical.

In the meantime, they go off on a bunch of tangents. I mean, they keep talking (and talking and talking) about all these stupid creatures. But we haven't actually seen any of them in the first few episodes. So what's the point? Why would I care whether ogres exist or what the deal is with them when so far they have absolutely zero bearing on the plot or characters thus far? It doesn't help too that there's just so much of this BS. In the first few episodes we hear of: Evil cats, ogres, balloon dogs, and false minoshiros. It gets really tiresome. I could actually get into the whole "evil cats" thing (especially since it actually seems to be becoming relevant even if it takes until episode 9) but they muddle it with a whole bunch of other nonsense.

Then there's this whole big info dump in episode 4 (which is just horribly handled by the way). Again though, it just seems like a ton of noise. Empty, meaningless information that doesn't really matter in any meaningful way. Oh, and there's this whole plot point about the "Bonobo solution" which apparently involves making everyone fuck like rabbits (er...well Bonobos actually) to reduce conflict. It really makes no sense to me and I couldn't buy into it at all. From there, they go off on a further multi-episode tangent about the characters adventures with the mole people which, while slightly more exciting by virtue of at least having some conflict, really amounts to very little as well. They lose their powers but they get them back and eventually make it back to the village basically unscathed.

Finally, at this point, the show gets better. They get back to some of the original plot points (ie. The disappearing kids and malevolent goings on). There's a couple really strong episodes involving Shun. (They also look like they're from an entirely different show. I wonder if they brought in somebody to do the animation or something? Either way, the result is gorgeous). Still, the show continues to struggle with bad exposition, clunky execution and a generally overstuffed story though. There's a really awkwardly executed twist involving altering memories that frankly raises far more questions than the show seems to have any intention of answering.

In the end, I don't know. I was optimistic when they got back to the village and indeed, this show is a lot more tolerable now but it seems like the generally poor writing is here to stay which makes me think this will never actually be a truly good show. Finally, I've just sorta lost interest in it. Maybe this show will pull out a decent conclusion but I'm pretty much over it by now.

(The) Future Diary (TV) Weak

Seen: About half | I actually quite liked this show at the start. I love the music (probably the best OP I've seen in a while) and the atmosphere. I think I can say with certainty that it had the most intriguing premise of any anime the last couple years. Plus, I love the way they actually set up clear, simple time manipulation rules. It's too bad they never really end up utilizing this mechanic in any especially interesting ways. Instead, the show opts to go in a vastly more ridiculous direction. Pretty much every one off character has some sort of crazy gimmick. To some degree that's okay although for a show this dark there's definitely a limit. As a result, it frequently lapses into awfulness on multiple occasions. Minene's episode is probably the worst. I expect these people to be unbalanced but everything about her from her character to her plan was just absurd. The idea that she's gone around and installed bombs and also motion sensors in every single class in the entire school and also somehow buried a whole bunch of landmines out in the court yard is just so utterly over the top that it's totally ridiculous. This is a recurring problem in the show: Absurdly elaborate and improbable traps.

While a lot of the side characters are totally one note (Yuki's little posse of friends are especially bad) I generally liked the main characters. Yuki kind of falls into the bland and ineffectual lead rut, he takes the whole crazy loner thing to such an extreme that I don't mind too much. Same goes for Yuno who works largely because she is, clearly, completely bonkers. They create this fairly interesting dynamic where Yuno is clearly nuts but Yuki needs her so he keeps her around. Over time he's begins to increasingly rationalize this and tell himself that Yuno is okay. I was, however, quite let down by the lack of payoff in this relationship. There was obviously going to be something that set her off and made her go from friendly stalker to crazy captor...aaaand the show pretty much skips right over it. It's pretty jarring and disappoint and made me feel like I wasted my time watching the show up until now. It's around this point that the show starts to go off the rails in a more general sense. It just completely degenerates into this huge, incoherent mess in all regards (both the plot, the basic execution, the character relationships, everything).

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet (TV) Weak

Seen: 6 episodes | Eh...I don't know where this is going. Initially, I was moderately positive. Sure, parts of this show look really like ass. The whole fist half episode space battle is one big indistinguishable glowing CG turd. But there are also a lot of really gorgeous looking giant, patchwork battleship convoys which are pretty cool. And there seem to be some neat ideas lurking in the background (selective breeding? soldiers earning their right to go to this mysterious paradise?) even if not a ton done with them yet. And the earth world seems interesting too. It's basically waterworld but with giant city ships. And I really like Ledo. The whole fish out of water premise is fairly cliche but it is executed very well here. He really comes across as downright inept at living a normal human life. It's well done and has a good sense of humour that makes it a lot of fun to watch. The thing is though, this show has been going more or less down hill since about episode 2. Episode 3 lost me a bit. Why exactly are these dudes such pacifists? I mean, I can see why there are usually pragmatic reasons to not kill the first group of pirates. They normally don't want to piss off the rest of the pirates. But now they've pretty much been given the means to completely obliterate them all on a whim thanks to Ledo. It just seems crazy to me that they're gonna sit back and basically demand Ledo stay out of the fight and instead put their own people in mortal danger just because they have some sort of moral objection to killing some of the pirates who are attacking them. It doesn't seem genuine at all. It feels to me like the writers trying to write their way out of making Ledo and his mech so overpowered initially and salvage some sense of actual drama in the show. Episode 4 gets things right back on track a bit. But then episodes 5 and 6 are just awful. Basically just filler and chock full of trite fanservice. I really don't know where this show will go from here.

GATE (TV) Weak

Seen: 2 episodes | To its credit this show is, at least at the surface level, very well executed. Visually competent, well paced, and not burdened with exposition. I don't really get the characterization they're going for here with the main character. Pretty much everything about him seems like a contradiction. For starters, If he's such a detached fool that his first thought is "oh no, my otaku thing will be cancelled" when trouble strikes, why does he then immediately run into the fray and start trying to save people? And for that matter, why is he able to? It's one thing to ask me to stomach scenarios like SAO or what have you that are obviously contrived at a story-external level to be power fantasies for otaku guys, but this show seems to have little interest in offering even an in-universe justification for this hapless otaku dude actually being a total stone cold, throat slitting badass. I mean, apparently he's a member of the JSDF. (I think anyway. This is a fact that, weirdly enough, is never stated during the crisis and is only made apparent afterwards when he receives a medal.) But still, there seems to be a massive difference between serving in the JSDF and having whatever basic training that entails, and being some kind of war machine. And this is a guy, remember, that is overwhelmingly characterized as a lazy slacker who only works to support his hobby. The premise wears thin quickly as well. It's a kinda neat idea at first: Modern army vs medieval fantasy army. It's just that it only really works through maybe one episode when the medical army has the element of total surprise. After that...well things go down pretty much as you'd expect. Once they go through the gate the series turns into a hopelessly one sided fight. It's atrociously boring unless you really just get off on watching the JSDF demonstrate their utterly superior firepower by slaughtering a bunch of foreigners.

Genocyber (OAV) Bad

Seen: 1 episode | You know, it seems like it may have had some potential and I actually found a number of aspects were pretty well done. I can sort of see what Justin was referring to in his Buried Treasure Column. However, they never really develop or explain the concept enough and it all falls apart in the last half. The street kid just disappears and then turns up dead. I went back and checked and I can't for the life of me figure out why specifically. The bad guys suddenly go through these ridiculous transformer-esque change into big robot things.

Gilgamesh (TV) Not really good

Seen: Maybe 10 episodes | I must give it some credit for looking good and having a potentially interesting and unique premise. I also like that they're not going for a shounen psychic powered monster fighting adventure but rather something more contemplative and mystery focused. It's just not a very effective one though. It ultimately feels like all style and atmosphere with little in the way of real compelling plot thus far. It's far from horrible in the end. It's just not especially good and yet another show I'm just not ever realistically going to finish.

Glass Maiden (TV) Weak

Seen: 1 episode | As a rule I think I should stop watching anime described as 'hard-boiled'. It's pretty much bullshit based on my experiences. They promise a tale of a detective in a scummy city being drawn into a dangerous mystery surrounding a beautiful young woman which does in fact sound like a hard-boiled detective story. That's not really what happens here though.

Nearest I can tell from the first episode, this is the story of a detective (or something, I'm not quite sure) who lives in a nice big clean house in what appears to be a nice enough city with a couple cutesy little girls. They all live their happy little lives until they end up involved in a big action shoot 'em up and subsequent car chase involving a naked chick who is being chased by a bunch of other people. Also, this all apparently ties into some women turning into glass (literally). And did I mention there's a ridiculously over the top trans character?

The funny thing is that this isn't even [i]that[/i] bad an anime. If it were billed as a typical light hearted, action fest with a bit of sci-fi nonsense, I might maybe call it a passable title. I'm really just too irked by how misleading it is though to appreciate it to any degree. I mean, fuck! The first image of it was a revolver and bullets sitting next to a glass of booze. If that doesn't indicate that this will be a more dark and serious detective story I don't know what does.

Gugure! Kokkuri-san (TV) Not really good

Seen: About half | The pacing is often awkward and it usually feels pretty disjointed as a given episode crams together 2-3 unrelated little segments. And it's incredibly weird how it runs with this comedic art style 90% of the time but still randomly swaps back to traditional anime style occasionally. As to the key question though, "Is it funny?", yeah. Occasionally at least. Kohina's deadpan, monotone voice works pretty well and there's actually some clever humor here. And it's at least somewhat free of the usual tropes of bad anime comedy. It's definitely hit and miss but entertaining enough and with at least some genuinely hilarious moments (and a few sad ones too) that you'll get some laughs. Still, the show is pretty inconsistent and probably trends downward. Kohina is great but with each new spirit they introduce the show gets just a little bit worse. Inugami is especially off-putting. He has the odd fun interactions with Kokkuri but in regards to Kohina he's just creepy and unfunny and totally at odds with the chemistry Kohina and Kokkuri have going. In general, the problem here is simply that while Kohina is really funny, the rest of the show generally isn't. And it is tough for a single funny character to carry an entire show.

Guilty Crown (TV) Bad

Seen: 7 or 8 episodes? | Production values are very sleek. Everything else is kinda shit. It's not even a "good looking" show exactly because despite the high production values the art design is pretty bad. Inori's costume is absurd and out of place in an otherwise fairly realistic world. The rest of the show, from the main character to the robots, is tremendously bland and uninspired. The main character is exactly the type of boring, whiny coward that nobody seems to want but they keep making shows about regardless. He spends almost literally the entire first episode explaining to the viewer what a cowardly, socially stunted, self loathing loser he is. Hey, ya get no argument from me pal! You know what would make this show 5x better? If Gai was the main character. Gai apparently murders people with his bare hands at the drop of a hat. That sounds like something I could get behind in a main character. He also is suave as fuck. He's basically a young, Japanese James Bond. Of course, that's literally all we know about him right now. Still, it would be an improvement. Although really, making that little tachikoma looking robot the main character would be an improvement. There isn't much to like in the way of side characters either. The other characters are all one note fetishes or cliches. His "mom" is just creepy. I don't know what the hell is going on there. The worst of the bunch would have to be Inori or as I call her "girl". I call her that because so far it's her only defining characteristic. Like really, this girl is not just distant. She's utterly blank. She's basically a glorified real doll that Gai dangles in front of Shu to control him. Frankly it comes off like she isn't even aware of Shu which makes it really pathetic to watch as he desperately projects a relationship that simply doesn't exist.

The plot is...well actually there is no plot. So far every episode has pretty much just been a bunch of running around chasing some random maguffin. In a larger sense, they never really establish the premise or give the slightest motivation to the characters. They're pretty much expecting you to assume right off the bat that these foreigners are evil simply by virtue of being foreigners and that anyone whatsoever who is at odds with them must be good. We quite literally never even get the slightest hint at who the hell any of the "good" guys are or what they're after. Same goes for the bad guys really. We get a brief monologue about how foreign powers are now running Japan. Apparently there was a virus or something and they provided aide and then somehow wound up running the country. I suppose it's at least potentially better that "evil gaijin forcibly take over Japan just because" although in the short term it's just mystifying and, as I said earlier, gives the viewer zero reason to assume, as the show seems to, that these guys are bad. As it happens, they do later randomly slaughter an entire district of people for no apparent reason. That at least gives us a clear reason to think they're the bad guys although also really just pushes them into "absurdly evil just because" territory. That in turn though totally undermines their later efforts when Shu is trying to decide who's actually the bad guy is. Also, the show pretty much manages to jump the shark every second episode. In episode 1 Shu inexplicably pulls a giant sword out of girl's tits (this is, by the way, done in the most sexually suggestive way possible. She even whispers "use me" right before and then lies there groaning as he does it. It's pretty hilarious actually) and then even more inexplicably leaps though the air and cuts a giant robot in half. Also, later, Girl inexplicably charges at a whole military blockade, dodges all their gunfire and leaps about thirty feet in the air over them. No explanation is given for how or why. Also, am I the only one who noticed that her turning up to "rescue" Shu amounted to absolutely nothing. She shows up...throws herself off a building (for no real reason) and then Shu flies into action and blasts all the robots with his gravity gun to save her. Oh, and perhaps the worst sin this show commits? It still manages to be a fucking highschool show half the time. Cause who wants to see giant robots and insane freedom fighters when you could have the usual boring high school bullshit.

Gun Frontier (TV) Bad

Seen: 4 or 5 episodes | Probably the most rushed anime I've ever seen. It was like they took a 26 episode plot and squished it into 13 episodes. In watching it felt more like I was just reading a summary of the plot. There was never any build up to anything, just "this happens and then this happens and etc." The characters were marginal. The art style was just ugly. I'm open if not downright encouraging of unusual art styles but this one just looks bad. The wildly different characters don't even look like they belong in the same universe. Oh and there's the fanservice. Was the director sitting around and said to his friend "wanna bet how many times in a single episode I can have this woman take her clothes off?" Again the speed of sound plot didn't help here. It would just be like RANDOM NUDITY for ten seconds and them jump to something else. Then a bit later they find another excuse for 5 seconds of random nudity. I don't mind nudity so long as it's organic but this is the antithesis of that.

Gundam Reconguista in G (TV) Not really good

Seen: 5 episodes | You know, I really like how this show looks visually. Minimal CG, nice clean and colorful character and mecha designs and none of it is over-designed/over-detailed to the point of all blending together. It's really quite vibrant and fun to look at. Can't say as much for the story though. It's borderline passable I guess. It's pretty bizarre and not very coherent though. There are already way too many characters, many of whom don't really serve much purpose at this point. None of them I'd call especially likable or interesting either and their motivations seem quite spurious and inconsistent. The world building is really awful too. Several episodes in and I really just feel like I'm starting to understand the basic setting, situation or who the different factions in play are. Same goes for tone. It's not even the usual anime tone problem where they flip back and forth between dark and comedy relief. It's the serious scenes themselves. They're often weirdly nonchalant. For instance, they've all been taken prisoner by the enemy...but they're still just kinda hanging out and goofing around like usual. I don't know. This is a weird fucking show. It's not good but it is bad in really odd ways. I wouldn't mind sticking with it just to see where it goes. Don't really have the time though.

Gungrave (TV) Not really good

Seen: 6 to 10 episodes | This seems like it would be right up my alley. I can see where it's sort of good but for some reason it just isn't doing it for me. I think maybe its that it sort of presents itself as this serious mob drama. But then it also has a ton of stuff that requires you to suspend your disbelief. Its not even just the heavy Sci-Fi element which at least makes sense if it was scientifically possible. There is other stuff such as the gun fights that just seem highly unrealistic. It really clashes.

Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom (TV) Not really good

Seen: About 6 episodes | I have to call false advertising on this one. A big part of what got me excited about it was the absolutely gorgeous original promotional picture. Very reminiscent of Le Chevalier D'Eon. Not so much how the show actually looks. The show itself looks okay but terribly generic. Especially the main character. Again, I feel a little ripped off here. The fact that this girl disguises herself as a guy made me think...I dunno...she might act like one too? Actually do something? Fight? Something? Anything? No. Her contribution is about 90% sitting there quietly. The other 10% is blushing and helping with chores. She has no real personality to speak of although I guess that's pretty much the norm for harem leads. I'm also more that slightly bothered by the lack of effort in actually making her look disguised. Despite significant problems with the lead character, the show is still reasonably solid. The animation isn't very good but there's still some decent fights. They actually dig into the politics of things quite a bit which is rather interesting. I never deliberately opted to drop it. I just kinda forgot about it though.

Hamatora (TV) Weak

Seen: 5 episodes | I'm not sure if I particularly like the extremely colorful, almost psychedelic visual style. But its not boring at the very least. And it does have at least a certain consistency in aesthetic that prevents it from simply looking unfocused. And I'm at least a little impressed with how they actually delivered slightly (albeit to a diminishing degree) on the promise of being a detective show. I mean, it all basically comes down to a super-powered fight in the end but there's a definite procedural investigation aspect for most of the episode that I enjoyed. Still, its all really trite stuff. The plots are paper thin and the characters are all one note stereotypes. The humor is also completely generic and falls utterly flat. It's basically just bland enough to be inoffensive if also utterly forgettable. Er...well, except for episode 5 in which a pack of rouge gays invade a bathhouse and use their powers sweat based, situp induced, powers to make all the guys lust after them. Yeah...I think I'm done here.

(The) Heroic Legend of Arslan (TV) Decent

Seen: 2/3rds | This show exemplifies the principle that you can get away with being somewhat unremarkable if you do a lot of things pretty well and next to nothing truly wrong. The character designs (straight out of FMA) are perfectly palatable if somewhat unmemorable. They're all reasonably colorful, reasonably distinct and reasonably detailed if never excessively so. The production values are also solid, middle of the road quality. The traditionally animated sequences get the job done even if they don't display any particular flair and the big battles, which are mostly CG, look at least passable (far from unwatchable anyway) even if they still look fairly stilted and robotic. On the notable side though, the fights are well choreographed with fast, impactful action without getting too frantic. There are some really nice backgrounds here too. Even the more mundane scenes are brought to life by their lush and detailed backgrounds. The story is, for the most part, equally passable. The characters are not especially outstanding but they're solidly written and certainly at least stretch beyond obvious cliches. Also, while there's little in the setting or premise that I'd call original, none of it is so on the nose cliche as to be off-putting either. And perhaps most importantly the show is thus far extremely well paced, never dragging even when the actual plot does slow down a bit. The other standout is the strong, sweeping musical score which goes a long way to raising the tempo and turning this relatively standard epic/adventure into a highly enjoyable one.

Heroman (TV) Not really good

Seen: A few episodes | Nothing really wrong with this show exactly. It's just pretty clearly written for kids. Not much else to say.

Ikki Tousen (TV) Worst ever

Seen: A few episodes | Here's the issue I have with shows like this... It's not just that they are dumb fanservice fueled nonsense. It's that to me they fail even as just that. I think you can, potentially, make a legitimately enjoyable show that's just goofy, insubstantial fluff meant to excite and/or titillate. This isn't that though. For starters, the fights are pretty weak. Just simple, unexciting and dull. Secondly, the characters are all completely unappealing. Is it too much to ask for some characters that are actually cool, fun, likable people as well? I mean there's literally no reason to watch this besides fanservice. Although really, that's pretty dubious as well. I mean, do people actually find this titillating? It's all so sloppily drawn, simplistic and inhumanly exaggerated. Although for that matter, even writing it off as just porn (that evidently doesn't suit me) is too kind. I mean, if that's all this is then why does it have so much other BS? This show constantly bores you will needless reference to the Three Kingdoms. It's neither clever or interesting though having them constantly pause to explain that "X character did this thing historically and now the character is doing the same thing get it cause it's like the same okay?" I truly don't get the point here. I just don't.

(The) irregular at magic high school (TV) Bad

Seen: 1 episode | God the first half of this is bloody dull. The main character is strong, competent, well spoken, handsome...and also inexplicably dull as paint. His sister is even worse. She's obviously, unsubtly in love with her brother and gushes over him constantly. And the rest of the characters are a bunch of one note cliches. Shy moe girl with glasses. Rambunctious tomboy with short hair. Elegant student president girl. Generic, nondescript male sidekick guy. They're all here and they're all boring as ever. Later on there's a little bit of action, which, credit where it is due, is fairly slick. But devoid of any context or stake it's tough to care.

K (TV) Bad

Seen: A couple episodes | A sublimely stupid show. I honestly can't tell whether or not (and to what degree) this show is making fun of itself. In any case though, it's not without its own goofy appeal. It has a certain energy that I couldn't help but get into and the action scenes are very smooth too. It's unfortunate though. This show has clearly designed by committee to appeal to every group of fans out there. So while I can marginally enjoy some aspects of this show, it too often lapses into either painfully dull slice of life proceedings or painfully stupid naked cat girl antics.

Katanagatari (TV) Weak

Seen: 2 episodes | Okay, well, I like the art style. But jeez, it's like they wanted to do a 40 minute special but only had the script for a 20 minute show so they just decided to fill out the extra 20 minutes with absolutely awful and pointless dialogue. A lot of it is terrible because it's this really trite effort to be all self referential. The gag is basically that they're writing a report about their adventure and so they go on a bunch about stuff like how the main character is too boring and how they've got to correct this or nobody will read the report and what his catch phrase will be. It's not really overly clever to begin with and it gets run into the ground pretty fast. Plus, it's just so poorly executed. That's the thing here. Maybe this could be fun if it was written more smoothly. However, it's like this whole show was written by someone who really does not have the slightest clue about how to write dialogue. Everything is so wordy and drawn out. Characters just sit around blathering at each-other about absolutely nothing or for no real reason. Also, it's not like this is the show's only problem. Beneath it's period setting and stylish coat of paint, it's actually just largely the same otaku cliches. The main character is a bland, flat pushover personality-wise (and the few unique twists, like him being raised in the wild and unable to tell people apart, etc are so overblown that they just end up being silly, one off gags). Togame is really just the usual bossy, but also goofy tsundere. Plus, his sister is just the same old frail moe sister cliche. I guess there are good parts to this show. As I said, I do really like the art style. There are some brief entertaining moments as well. A couple neat fights. Really though, that's just a small fraction of the show. There's nothing to make it worth slogging through the rest of this show.

Last Exile (TV)

Seen: A few episodes | Look great. The little girl is pushing the whole moe element a bit. I don't know if I'll ever get around to finishing this. It's just not particularly exciting me. Nothing really against it though so maybe some day.

Love Hina (TV) Bad

Seen: A few episodes | Yeah...My friend got me to watch some of this. I don't really see the point. It's not really funny. I don't really see much serious potential here though.

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic (TV) Not really good

Seen: A couple episodes | I like the desert setting and I like the music. I has a sort of classic, middle eastern sound but with a fun, modern twist. On the other hand, Aladdin's boob obsession is really trite and contrived (not to mention more than a little creepy seeing as Aladdin otherwise acts like a child (and looks like a 2 year old when he goes all chibi). Otherwise...eh. I really have no strong opinion. This is a not horrible but not really all that remarkable adventure show that I'm pretty much indifferent to.

Magical Warfare (TV) Bad

Seen: 2 episodes | You know, there are actually a few interesting things lurking around this show. In general the atmosphere is decent and appropriately moody. And the action scenes are pretty solid and the ruined world looks pretty sweet. The art design falls is almost painfully derivative of the Fate universe. From the character designs to the big spinning magical glyphs. Although, I actually do like the Fate look so its not entirely a bad thing. The prospect of a protagonist with a messed up home life is a fresh and potentially interesting premise too. Although that said, they basically throw this away by moving the characters to a generic magic school in another world at the end of episode 1. And in any case, this is pretty shit in all other regards. The characters are all painfully cliche and in the case of the tsundere girl, fantastically annoying. During the scene where she falls off the bed and inexplicably ends up kissing him, I began contemplating throwing either my TV, myself or maybe both out an eighth story window. And then, later, when in the middle of the big action scene the girl suddenly used magic to make her boobs bigger for no apparent reason, I began to contemplate the possibility of throwing the entire planet into the sun. Plus, there's a mountain of horrible, droning exposition that put me right to sleep.


Seen: 1 episode | This is pretty much what is wrong with anime. Not because it is so bad but to the contrary, because it could have been good. The premise is very interesting (even if the execution is rather rushed). The show looks great as well. The backgrounds in particular are really stellar. I could see this building into something really good. Except...it totally undermines that with a bunch of mind numbing ecchii antics. Which would be one thing if it was just excessive and ridiculous but ultimately surface level fanservice (like demon queen's giant wobbly boobs). But it goes even further and totally undermines the lead characters as well. The hero becomes the usual blank slate, afraid of girls, weeny that you always get in these shows. The demon girl becomes a weak, insecure idiot despite being intelligent enough to come up with this amazing plan. I'm not sure whether this will be enough to outright make the show unwatchable (it might). But at best, it massively detracts from what could be a good show otherwise. That's what I find so frustrating. When a show like...lets say Senran Kaguya is made, ultimately, I don't give a shit. It doesn't really matter since it is just pure fanservice from top to bottom. There's nothing there worth watching to begin with. When you see that kind of thing creep into other shows though, those which actually have something going for them, that is when it really becomes a shame.

Mikagura School Suite (TV) Not really good

Seen: 4 episodes | So this is basically dumb nonsense. The premise is really cliche and silly. The character all also all fairly broad and one dimensional. Although, I will give some credit to the main character who is a horny, lesbian fujoshi which is a big improvement over either A) the usual boring male lead in harem shows or B) the usual innocent and pure yuri lead. (Although she doesn't go too far the other way into any creepy sex-offender antics.) Still, there's absolutely nothing here that really invites you to take this show seriously. Of course, that's not inherently a bad thing. Light, breezy, colorful nonsense can still be fun. It remains to be seen whether that will actually be the case here or not though. So far it is extremely hit and miss. This is generally a pretty energetic and fast paced show so that helps. Although when the pace does occasionally drags the show can turn into a real snooze very quickly. The comedy is a very mixed bag too. There are a few funny moments but a lot of loud overreaction too. There is one big redeeming factor here though: The action sequences are outstanding. They look like they've been ripped from an entirely different, much better show. (They art style changes quite noticeably). They're fast, fluid and quite entertaining. Still, it's just not really worth sitting through 2/3rd of an episode of the rest of the show for the action sequence at the end.

Mobile Fighter G Gundam (TV) Weak

Seen: 5 to 10 episodes? I don't really remember | A big ridiculous martial arts tournament series with all the inherent stupidity except also with robots and racial stereotypes. Hooray!

Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (TV) Weak

Seen: Maybe 6 episodes? | This is a fairly good looking series. Everything is sleek and smooth. The mecha designs are great. The Gundams are all highly unique but without looking ridiculous. The other mecha are also very cool. They are distinct to each faction and look specialized and like actual realistic military vehicles. However, the character designs are...so so. In some ways they're nice, smooth clean designs. However I don't know that their overly cartoony look is right for the more serious military/political elements of the story. Members of Celestial Being tend to be the worst. A lot of the girls look absurdly young and many of the men don't really look like men at all. The 'guy' with the purple hair is particularity over the top. I completely assumed he was female until I was told otherwise.

The whole premise of Celestial Being is just so ridiculous too. Now maybe if they were an under funded, under armed little group that by some chance had obtained the means to make some degree of impact but still had to fight like hell to achieve their goals, it would have been reasonable (and interesting). As it was it just seemed so silly. That's the other thing too though. It could at least have been a better action series if CB wasn't so overpowered. It seems too often like they're never really in danger. They walk right through their hopelessly inferior enemies. It's this kind of thing that made Wing boring as hell and the opposite that made SEED (especially the first half) so fun. I certainly haven't given this enough of a chance to see what it develops into and it's by no means bad enough that I'd call it hopeless so I may revisit it at some point.

Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny (TV) Awful

Seen: Oh god, it all blends together | I can see the problems I've heard about starting to get worse and worse. It's going absolutely nowhere. No actual story whatsoever has really started to develop. I'm right around the point where I've heard it really completely falls apart. I've got better things to do than watch something that, unless almost everything I've heard about it is untrue, will be terrible.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing (TV) Weak

Seen: All of it when I was a kid. Maybe a couple dozen episodes as an adult | The characters are so boring and totally lack personality. The Gundams were so powerful that most of the fights were crappy. There's no tension. Just invincible machines plowing through an endless series of grunts. All in all, just a really bad anime. That said, some people do like this and I can sort of see why. It's an okay introductory Gundam series and it's got a certain novelty in spite of it's flaws. It's certainly stylish if nothing else. It has a very dark, shadowy look. It's pretty nice.

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans (TV) Not really good

Seen: About half | Well, I'll grant that this show is easily the least overtly bad Gundam series of the last decade (although it's significantly less pretty than Reconguista). Not bad isn't exactly good though. This show would be more effective if it did more to show us how hard the lives of the soldiers were instead of just having people tell us that repeatedly. Same goes for their apparent status as the dregs of their unit. I mean at no point did they really feel like underdogs to me. They don't seem to be particularly outgunned or outmatched against their attackers. In fact, they mostly pilot circles around them (literally in a couple cases). Also their commanders abandoning them might have carried a little more weight if they didn't easily foresee it and have a plan in place to turn this to their advantage. Things do get a bit rough when the enemy deploys their mobile suits, but they just counter by sending out their own Gundam which they apparently have just kicking around. I'm not overwhelmingly fond of this show visually either. A lot of the characters look just a bit...off. The mecha designs are mostly forgettable as well. They're going for a realistic, down to earth look I guess. To me though, that's best done by virtue of packing a lot of grit and detail into the art (08th MS team is a great example of this). This show mostly just looks a touch bland. Overall, this show just seems like a weird contradiction. It sorta wants to be this dark and gritty war drama but it also wants to be this goofy, flamboyant and even slice of life-ish show. It all adds up to a show with a sluggish pace, indecisive tone, and moderately unappealing characters.

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (TV) Not really good

Seen: About half | I don't see what the big deal is. It isn't terrible by any means but it isn't the masterpiece some people claim it is. I find the characters kind of lifeless. They're just going about continuing the plot without really being all that reactive to anything that's happening. Kamile is sometimes the exception but not in a good way. he's way to angsty, and mostly over stupid little stuff. I also find the political situation of the world vague and undefined. It just kind of follows along with what the good guys and a single group of enemies are doing as the pursue each other. It isolates them and makes them out to be the only military forces that seem to exist in the area. Also, whats up with all the people randomly slapping each other? This goes back to my previous complaint. They all seem to do this very casually and without energy or much emotion. It just ends up coming off as a weak attempt to make things seem more dramatic when the truth is they just aren't. Zeta does okay in the action department but it's poorly executed from a dramatic point of view.

Monster Rancher (TV)

Seen: I have no idea. I just remember watching it as a kid. | I mildly remember this being a fairly cool show to my little kid brain.

Mōryō no Hako (TV) So-so

Seen: Maybe 5 episodes? | Okay, this is definitely a show that can be frustratingly abstract. And yet, I can't deny that I found parts quite captivating. It's got a great, spooky atmosphere. The relationship between these two girls is quite intriguing. It hits just the right balance where nothing is overtly malicious and yet it's all just mildly unnerving. Both girls seem a bit off. It's all very intriguing. I'm eager to see where this is going. That said, this story is just so awfully messy. The story so far with these two girls and the detective is more or less okay but there's a number of bits tossed in that totally lost me. A few times now they've just kinda offhandedly mentioned certain things in passing that seem like major things but they never actually explain them at all. (They just kinda mention offhand that Kanako dies later and then...get's dismembered or something? I don't know. Also, a threat or whatever was up with that letter which is apparently the reason the police are all there). In the end, for whatever it does well, overall I really just can't make heads or tails of this show.

Nanana's Buried Treasure (TV) Weak

Seen: 2 episodes | So there's this highschool guy and he moves into his new apartment. But oh, what a surprise! The land lord has really big boobs and dresses provocatively. But wait. There's more. Turns out apartment is HAUNTED. Er...by a teenage girl. She's totally adorable and gorgeous and spends her days just sitting around the apartment eating pudding and playing video games. Naturally, sexy wrestling immediately occurs. Oh, and did I mention that he also immediately meets another super cute (but this time shy with glasses) girl who, in the most adorkable way imaginable, tells him she finds him attractive. *sigh* No. Okay. Look noitaminA. You gotta do what you gotta do. I'm not gonna judge ya. You do what you need to to make bank. I'm, er...I'm just gonna be over here watching Ping Pong for now. But it's cool, really. And hey, this actually could be a lot worse y'know? It's pretty polished. Generally well directed and written at least for what it is.

Naruto (TV) Weak

Seen: I don't know. A few dozen episodes when it was on TV | Eh...It's Naruto. What can I say?

Natsume's Book of Friends (TV) So-so

Seen: 9 episodes | It's fine. Pretty low key stuff. Not super gripping or touching but some nice moments here and there. A fair bit of not especially interesting light humor antics though too that I could take or leave. And the spirit design is terribly bland. Really, that's the thing about this show. It's not bad. It's not bad at all. It's perfectly okay and I could easily keep watching it and its subsequent seasons. It's just really bland though. I feel like I could easily never watch the rest of it and be totally okay with that. And so, for time reasons, that's what I'm gonna do.

Ninja Slayer From Animation (ONA) Bad

Seen: 2 episodes | I get what they're going for here. I applaud them for the effort at doing something unique. Boy though...what a complete and utter miss. And look, I quite like a lot of terrible 80s anime. I like it despite it being silly and over the top. Despite is the key word though. Such shows may be totally dumb but they're also a lot of fun. They're appealing in their own silly way. That's not really the case here. There's obviously no real story or characterization. That goes without saying. It's just random, barely connected nonsense. However, this show is also an utter turd visually. There's no animation or cinematic composition 90% of the time. It's just, literally, static cutouts of the characters being moved around slightly. And even when they do decide to cut to some actual animation, they completely undermine it by constantly cutting back to the aforementioned 2D cutouts. It ends up just feeling jarring and weird and makes the actual animation (no matter how good it may be) impossible to appreciate. Of course it doesn't help either that the visual design is crap too. Just an awful blend of sickly neon color with no focus or restraint that's downright ugly to look at. (This also pretty much robs the show of any action or atmosphere appeal too).

Of course, perhaps I'm simply looking for this show to be something it isn't: Anything but pure comedy. Indeed. All of this would be fine if Ninja Slayer was actually funny. But it isn't. There's little in the way of actual parody here. The thing about parody is, it doesn't really work if all you're doing is saying: "Hey! Here are a bunch of the tropes of terrible 80s anime and schlocky Ninja flicks". You have to present those tropes in such a way that either subverts them or at least exaggerates them to an absurd/comical degree. But is that the case here? Eh, not really. To some degree it's the problem of how to parody something already ridiculous. But really, this show doesn't even try that hard either. The most exaggerated feature of the show is probably it's crappy, 2D cutout animation sequences. And that's only funny for about five seconds. And they never really do anything uniquely humorous with it. Really, the bulk of the humor here simply seems to be derived from how intentionally bad the show is. That's the problem though. When you get down to it, Ninja Slayer is really just a terrible show. That it's intentionally, ironically terrible really doesn't help it. At the end of the day you're still watching a terrible show.

No Game, No Life (TV) Worst ever

Seen: 2 episodes | This might be the single most overt otaku wish fulfillment scenario ever. I mean, the premise isn't new. Otaku/NEET guy just so happens to fall into a situation where he is suddenly super important and powerful by virtue of his (trivial in the real world) otaku skills (playing games) being the be all and all of the scenario. Nor is him having a sexy loli little sister who is inexplicably every bit as much of a NEET as him, with whom he shares a creepily intimate, bordering on romantic, relationship. What really sets it apart is the specific execution though. See, normally it is at least still a struggle of some kind. Yeah, he may have the power to be a big hero here but he still has to struggle to make that happen. Cause, you know, if he doesn't there is no actual drama. But this show doesn't seem to concerned with that. From literally the moment he lands in game world, he completely rules. There's no challenge. No danger of losing. And he knows it. For the better part of the episode, he simply struts around, smirking like an ass, beating everyone he comes across without even breaking a sweat, and collecting his fat rewards. So...yeah. Is this going somewhere? I mean, I gotta think there has to be some actual conflict at some point. It can't just be 13 episodes of "This NEET guy got sucked out of his shitty life and into game world and now everything is awesome. Now go fantasize about that being you."

Or can it? Episode 2 is inexplicably even worse. Instead of hustling random dudes, he turns his attention to taking advantage of a cute naked girl (who just lost everything) and tricks her (once again with no difficulty) into doing whatever he says which, again, he can do, because that's how this wonderful world works. And because he wasn't already enough of a scumbag, he demands she fall in love with him. But actually, she is already super hot for him anyway as it turns out. (Because god forbid a show actually choose between a nerd power fantasy where you can force women fall for you against their will and the nerd power fantasy where all the women just are hot for you despite having no reason to be.) At which point he spends a bunch of time flailing about, torn between his sis-con and his new slave girlfriend, because again, fantasy girlfriend or fantasy sister boning? This show is all about not making you choose. Also, did I mention the comedy in this show is bloody terrible? Like, even by anime standards. It's just endless yelling and as much frantic noise as possible in the desperate hope that will be funny. Oh, and they also find time for a long, dry bout of typical, light novel, world building that you don't care about, exposition. In a way I guess that's a good thing because this show appears to be moving toward having an actual conflict. But even if it does it seems like it will be terrible, just like every other aspect of this show.

Nobunaga The Fool (TV) Weak

Seen: 2 episodes | You know, if you're going to do several minutes of straight up "This is the premise of our show" narration, that's fine. But it really doesn't leave me with much patience for a bunch of subsequent "well as you know..." bad exposition dialogue. Also, pointless name dropping is very annoying (and it looks like they'll be doing some kind of dumb tarot card thing too). Finally, the show isn't very pleasant visually. Character designs are too busy and completely unfocused. I actually liked some of the CG initially. The big Samurai mechs actually somewhat okay. They at least have a fairly clean look and slow and smooth enough movement that they don't stand out as badly as usual. Unfortunately, the ones from the end of the episode are pretty much the opposite of that. The thing is too, there's just nothing to like about this show. Maybe I could start to forgive its flaws if it showed me something...anything, to make me want to do so but it's just completely unappealing through and through.

Noir (TV) Weak

Seen: About half | I decided to give this a chance because I heard it got a lot better as it progressed. I'm half way through and so far no improvement. Nothing but overused flashbacks and generic repetitive plot. I'll give it a little credit for being somewhat stylish though.

Norn9 (TV) Not really good

Seen: One episode | This is an interesting one. On the one hand, this is about as "otome game" as you can get. The main character is a blatant self-insert. She's cute in a bland way but also shy and isolated. And the premise is literally just her being swept off her feet and taken away to a beautiful new world where she's surrounded by a half dozen astoundingly pretty boys. That said, I sort of feel like this may be the best otome game adaptation that could possibly exist at least while still being just that. I mean, this is an awfully well done show considering. They don't bury you under excessive exposition, the characters are basically likable (if bland), and there are actually a few hints at genuine mystery here and there. More than anything though, I'm just impressed by how pretty this show is. The production values are quite high. The backgrounds and the architecture are gorgeous. Even the CG elements are extremely well blended. The music is really quite effective as well, alternating from sweeping to more intimate as appropriate. Again, the show doesn't really do much with this besides just stewing in the world they've created for 20 minutes. But if that's what you're looking for...eh, I'm not sure I can think of a better example. And hey, something blew up right at the end, so that maybe means something more will actually happen next episode. That'd be cool.

Occult Academy (TV) Not really good

Seen: 6 or 7 episodes I think | I like the art style and character designs and there's a nice balance of action and humour and suspense for the first couple episodes. Maya is an interesting character. At first I figured she'd be a pretty cliche tsundere type character and it's possible things will still swing that way. For now though, no. She's just...lets say...grumpy which is okay. In fact, it's more than okay. It's hilarious. I have mixed feelings on Fumiaki though. He can be quite comically inept and cowardly which gives credibility to Maya's temperament toward him. He actually has a fair bit of depth behind his personality as well. He definitely falls into the the unfortunate otaku proxy ruts at times though. The show particularly drags when his ditsy girlfriend becomes involved. She is completely uninteresting and devoid of personality and really does not seem to serve any function at all any yet receives an inordinate amount of screen time. The rest of the characters are generally entertaining. The visuals look quite good. I particularly like Maya's character design. The biggest problem here though is definitely a total lack of focus from the third episode on. After that it really just degenerates into a lot of rather nonsensical plot strings under the flimsy guise of searching for the Nostradamus mcguffin. Maya and specifically the development of her character seem to get put on the back burner as well. There's a bit of an excess of boring, slice of life tedium as well. I feel like the series has the ability to put together a very solid conclusion but I'm afraid it might be a bit of a slog getting there.

One Week Friends (TV) Decent

Seen: A few episodes | A bit slow and boy is the premise ever contrived. But that aside, this show is pretty adorable. The characters come across as genuine and their relationship is sweet and believably awkward. I'm glad too that they seem to be addressing the whole leaving notes scenario. I can more or less suspend my disbelief about the nature of her condition but not about why they don't try what seems like a very obvious way to reduce its impact. And they even seem to be hinting that she has tried this before and it didn't work for some reason which would explain why she never tried it on her own before he suggested it. This is another one of those shows that I'm just realistically never gonna get around to finishing but yeah, it seems pretty solid.

Otogi Zoshi (TV) So-so

Seen: Half | Really nice character designs that manage to look both smooth and clean and tremendously detailed. Beautiful smooth, blended and shadowed backgrounds. The whole thing looks like a moving painting. A lot of interesting and well presented political scheming initially. Very clear and coherent despite complexity of plot and numerous characters. In the long run though, the series struggles. The second arc feels very draggy. Things get a bit more interesting in the final arc. However I found the conclusion feel a bit flat for me. The mechanics of the world are never really established and it's never actually clearly established what is going on. I will give the show major credit for a twist near the end that genuinely surprised me. I have to take issue with the fights though. They're generally well animated but they play out like a game of checkers. Everyone just sort of stands around while one guy does something. We watch that and then somebody else goes ahead and does something. It's all very dull and sluggish and it drags the show down a fair bit. You could do way worse but this is probably not something I'll ever get around to finishing.

Overlord (TV) Not really good

Seen: 2 episodes | The art style is a mixed bag. A few characters definitely look a bit over-designed. There are a few nice ones too though. The writing isn't too bad either. There was a real quiet, nostalgic sadness to the first part of the episode, as Momonga reflects on the impending shutdown of this world that he's put so much into. It's rooted in a real human element too as he ultimately is not just sad to lose his game but also to invariably lose touch with all his friends and comrades from his guild. I gotta give the story its credit too. It at least brings a somewhat interesting twist to the "trapped in a game" genre by instead having the main character be the only one in this predicament. Thus, instead of simply collaborating with other players to get out, he instead has to pretty much play his part as he interacts with various NPCs and tries to figure out what's going on. That said, they don't really do much with this of interest. It ends up being used for little more than an excuse to play up the wish fulfillment angle of this show. Not only is Momonga suddenly a super powerful sorcerer in this world, he also has a horde of gushing minions who revere his as a god. It's dull to say the least. The comedic relief is atrocious too. All in all I'm largely incined to write off the first episode as an exception rather than the likely norm for this show.

Ozma (TV) So-so

Seen: 2 episodes | It's nice to see something, anything, in the vein of really old school anime sci-fi with not even a hint of any of the annoying modern tropes. The pacing drags a bit on a couple occasions but for the most part it is a fun and kinetic adventure. That whole battle in episode 2 was really cool and very well done. The show suffers a bit from too many characters but mostly just early on. Nobody really gets enough screen time in ep 1 to make much of an impression but after that things improve. I like the Captain a lot and Sam is tolerable if also forgettable. Visually the show is decent. The characters look kinda identical although they offset that with some nice, unique costumes. I'm also a sucker for anything with a desert motif. Honestly though, I'm never gonna get around to finishing this. Not bad though.

Paranoia Agent (TV)

Seen: Just a bit on TV | To Revisit

Patlabor The Mobile Police (OAV 1/1988) So-so

Seen: 5 episodes | Gosh, I'm really disappointed. The first two episodes are okay. Not bad exactly, but just sort of bland. It's definitely a very slowly paced anime which is fine. It's just I kind of expected it to thus also be rather serious or deep or....something. It's not. It just sort of lightheartedly plods along. There's a bit of comedy and to it's credit, it's decently funny. It's just not hilarious and these moments are relatively few and far between. Not enough to make this a 'comedy' series. So I don't know what this is supposed to be. It's not even about mecha really. The first episode is the only one to feature them in any major capacity and even then it's rather limited. I don't hate it but I find it pretty forgettable.

Then there's episode 3 though... What the heck!? Utterly ridiculous. I'm almost inclined to think it was intentionally ridiculous but it's presented completely deadpan. Man, that was just awful.Episode 4 is a step up but is pretty poor as well. It's roughly on par with your average episode of Scooby Doo. I think I prefer Scooby though cause while both are a thoroughly predictable and unscary mystery, the boring expositionary speech is limited to a few lines instead of like ten minutes. Episode 5 is also bad. Considering they spend an entire episode setting up what I assume will be covered in the final episodes, they could have at least developed it a little more. They just sort of leap into this massive conspiracy without any setup or build up. They don't even make it clear just what is going on or to what end. The army or some branch thereof, is attempting...some kind of coup? How and to what end? I don't think I'll bother to even finish this.

Persona 4: The Animation (TV) Weak

Seen: About a half dozen episodes | Eh...I don't know. It's okay I guess. Pretty stylish. Pretty polished. Honestly though, just forget this and play the game. That's basically what they seem to be telling you. This is one of the most fanwank adaptations I've seen in a while. It just seems like they're more concerned with speeding through every single thing so the fans can check it off their list rather than actually creating a solid adaptation that works on it's own. The show is frequently rushed. I mean, even the battles. There's basically no buildup. They just fly right in there and fight the boss and it only lasts like a couple minutes. Even the bloody monsters which they made a big deal over don't really matter. They're all basically interchangeable and just pop in for a second to launch an attack. In terms of the rest, it's not much better. It has this annoying habit of showing you like five different little ten second scenes one after another. (And the frustrating thing is that half of them could easily be combined if their almost compulsive obsession with having things happen [i]exactly as in the game[/i]). The main character is rather problematic too. Sorry but you can't just take a silent, self insert video game main character and stick him in a TV adaptation. It just doesn't work. I mean, it's one thing for him to be bland. As it is though, he's almost freakishly quiet. I literally have no bloody idea what he's like. He has no personality. Sorry but that's something that needs to change. I also wish they'd just drop all this Velvet room and/or social link stuff too. I didn't mind it in the game as a sort of semi-fourth wall breaking framing device. Seems a bit silly when applied literally to the plot of a show though and it's not really necessary either. The execution is also pretty poor so far. I mean, social links work in the game because they're side plots. They don't just pull you away from the main game and push you through an entire social link. You work away at them bit by bit and jump from one to another. When they just lump one all into a single episode it just feels like filler. So overall, I don't know. It's still not a horrible show. It's just a really pointless and mediocre adaptation that there's no reason to watch.

(The) Pilot's Love Song (TV) So-so

Seen: 8 episodes | Phenomenally annoying shaky cam during the action sequences. And the sister can be annoyingly loud and screechy (although she seems to be getting more tolerable). Acceptable CG though, especially when they're in the air. Great backgrounds and landscapes. And the premise seems cool. I like the idea of them being isolated on this floating island. And I like the characters. Kal is at least somewhat interesting. He seems to have some anger beneath the surface. Interested to see what they do with that. And he's pretty charming and driven too. It was cool see him actually shut down the douchey noble kid. And Claire seems alright too. I mean, she's pretty timid and passive. But she's kinda funny on occasion and she has some chemistry with Kal. The pacing could be better though. After the initial setup they spin their wheels for a few episodes (including a very dumb beach scene and subsequent "I accidentally fell right on top of you" moment). There is sporadic character development sprinkled in but there's just a ton of boring slice of life farting around too. And when the show finally does get going again it is in the form of a a "death arc" for a certain minor side character. It's all painfully overwrought and so obviously telegraphed. You're basically watching them parade a corpse around and pretend he isn't already dead. I don't know. You could do a lot worse but I'm just bored with this show so I'm dropping it.

Plastic Memories (TV) Weak

Seen: 2 episodes | I really don't get the praise this show receives. It's pleasantly inoffensive I suppose and it has an interesting premise but really only at the theoretical level. In practice it's a pretty rote and contrived melodrama. The characters all feel like extremely broad archetypes and spare a few brief exceptions the humor is all terribly generic. I also find the color palate rather off-putting. It's so flooded with bright colors (every character's hair is a different unnatural shade) and yet it lacks the sort of sharpness or focus that might make such a color scheme pop.

Please Save My Earth (OAV) Bad

Seen: 1 episode | This is the most incompressible mishmash of a plot I've ever seen. It's as if someone took three or four unrelated plots and crammed them into one show. Now I normally wouldn't be so specific here but I feel it's the only way to accurately portray just how disjointed things are here. First off you've got this high school girl who whines about pollution for a bit and then reminisces about somebody telling her to "remember the dinosaurs". Apparently humans are following the same path as them to extinction by "growing too large for the planet". I was actually under the impression that the dinosaur's extinction was somewhat more...meteor related but whatever. The whole environmental aspect isn't brought up again at all for the rest of the episode. Anyway, this girl is tormented by a little boy who lives next door. He teases her and tricks her into letting him spit into her open mouth. (She's not the brightest bulb). Now of course instead of simply going 'eww', she spirals into depression and crying fits for the rest of the night. Later she gets stuck babysitting him and takes him to the zoo. We find out there that she has some kind of weird connection with animals. If that sound vague, it's because it's never really detailed. They all crowd around her and stare at her. Dunno what that means.

This is where it goes off the rails. She runs into a couple guys we've never seen before but they evidently know each other because they immediately being explaining that they're not gay. What? Well in a flashback that they for some reason left till now to show, we learn that these guys go to her school and earlier she overheard a rather suggestive sounding conversation between them. As they explain though, they've actually been having identical dreams where one of them is a man and one of them is a woman and they're part of a group of people living on the moon. Yeah. Now call me homophobic if you must but I would think the most plausible explanation for this is that its actually just a load of BS they've cobbled together to try and hide the fact that they're gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Anyway though, they launch into a big expositional story and explain who all the different characters are in their little moon delusion.

Now back to the kid, she takes him home and he's being a brat and he ends up falling off the balcony and ends up in the hospital. This is where they really take it to a new level of crazy. When he comes to he has developed crazy Akira powers which he proceeds to secretly use to terrorize some biker kid. (Who we also had not met until this point). He's totally forgiven her for the balcony incident and actually kisses her which she takes about 5 seconds too long to pull away from in my opinion. Suddenly her parents are asking her in the most solemn manner imaginable if she intends to marry him. She faints and has a crazy moon dream of her own (which is actually quite unsurprising when you think about it seeing as they've just previously explained the whole thing to her). Bottom line, this is utter nonsense. Maybe the manga makes this work somehow but all compressed like this it is just comically terrible.

Pokémon (TV)

Seen: A lot | Who hasn't seen Pokemon at some point or another? I was totally into it back in the day when I was a kid and it was a hugely popular fad but I eventually grew out of it (er...the show at least. I still like the games). Anyway, I don't really see the point in offering a rating on what is clearly a kid's show. And hey, there's nothing wrong with with kids shows. It just seems like this rarely does anything beyond being a kids show.

Punch Line (TV) Weak

Seen: 4 episodes | If I can go off on a tangent here, I think it's weird that fanservice shows are often the most low budget, visually flat, poorly animated shows out there. I mean, I understand the reasoning. If your main selling point is "Hey, boobs. Boobs are here." then why put much effort let alone any actual money into making a high quality show? I guess that makes sense as people do seem to buy such shows. But at least for me personally, the opposite actually makes far more sense. If the whole or even primary appeal of a show is that it features a bunch of sexy, frequently naked ladies, shouldn't it be absolutely paramount that said ladies actually look good? I mean, I'm not generally inclined to watch a show just for the fanservice and maybe that makes me an atypical case. But really, with most fanservice shows I can't even get to the question "Is this worth watching just for the fanservice" because I encounter a more primary problem: This fanservice sucks. It's not sexy at all. The proportions are all exaggerated to downright off-putting, inhuman extremes. The art is so simple and rough. The animation is non-existant or bad to the point of distraction. It's like watching something scribbled in the margins of a middle-school boy's notebook. That's where though, on this basis, I'll actually give Punch Line some credit. It looks nice. Very nice. It's bright and colorful and vibrant. The art and especially the costume designs are very detailed. There's obviously been a lot of thought and effort put into giving them a nice, unique, fashionable look. The animation is pretty respectable too. It captures some of nice little details of movement and certainly makes the action sequences worth watching. All in all, if this show decided to be just what it was for the first third or so I 'd probably watch it.

Unfortunately, it does sort of unravel from there. The humor doesn't really land which is a problem when the show slows way down and stops being so action focused which is does a whole lot. The plot is also utter nonsense and not really even the fun, absurd kind of nonsense either. Just the "what is even happening in this show?" kind of nonsense. There are so many discordant and seeming unconnected plot threads here. It's simply incoherent and random to the point of being utterly boring. That's really the root problem here. If I can go off on another tangent, the writer of this show is Kotaro Uchikoshi who also wrote the Zero Escape games which I quite like. Where those games work though is that they present you with a mystery you actually want to solve. You're given a lot of scattered, often obtuse pieces of information early on but you're also given A) a basic compelling premise with immediate stakes to drive the plot forward and B) the impression that all these pieces actually do fit together in some logical way. You don't feel compelled to try and piece together the puzzle when it simply doesn't seem to fit together at all. It's also a problem that this show just hand-waves a ton of stuff and pretty much just makes up its ghost rules ad hoc. If that's the case it just seems like a total waste of time to even try and figure things out. I mean, should I be wondering why Cinnamon powers up ghosts? Is that gonna be meaningful? Or is that just one of those silly "ha don't think about it" goofs? Maybe it is. But there's a ton of stuff that seems pretty borderline, like it could be important but could also be nothing. Hence, it just seems stupid to even wonder which basically sinks the whole point of the show if it's supposed to be a mystery.

Pupa (TV) Worst ever

Seen: 6 episodes | I guess I shouldn't exactly be surprised given its four minute (probably 2.5 minutes minus OP and ED) run time but there is just...nothing to this. There's a guy and his sister. Suddenly she turns into a monster. Roll credits. Its just so completely bare bones. There's no real atmosphere or characterization. And episode 2 is basically just them straight up telling you their back-story. Because lord knows they don't have time to show us. I think too they would have been smart to drop the witch looking (but apparently a scientist) lady. Not only is her design silly, I'd much rather just watch an effective portrayal of the sister's predicament. Trying to actually explain the reasons behind it is a waste of time. And as things go on, it descends into the downright nonsensical. One second, she's a monster and she just killed her brother. The next...he's alive again and she's human and we've settled into the status quo of her having to feed on him to survive/not turn into a monster/whatever? What the hell? And then episode 5 descends even further into utter incoherency to the point that I don't even know what is going on in the slightest. Apparently she was an evil monster baby and he just always had healing powers I guess? Even though that totally seems to fly in the face of what happened before now? Whatever. I don't really care anymore. Its utterly clear to me that this has no intention of being anything but 2 minutes a week of at best, gross out weirdness and at worst, someone's terrifying and bizarrely specific fetish porn. So I'm done. Probably should have been weeks ago. Literally the only reason I didn't drop this sooner was that it is so short and on my Crunchyroll queue.

Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace (TV) Weak

Seen: 2 episodes | Well, this is the most immediately frustrating show I've seen in a while. It's got so much going for it. Lovely visual style, really neat composition, and some strong music. Great atmosphere at least when it tries to be spooky. The writing though...oh god the writing. Both the main characters are these weird, utterly detached assholes who think solving murders is a fun game. Not only does it make them completely unlikable and (especially in Kobayashi's case) pretty unbelievable as characters, but also their bizarrely nonchalant attitude toward every plot revelation completely undercuts any sense of suspense. They don't even know how to put together an effective mystery either though. Even other "smartest person in the room" shows don't just have the main character stand up and explain the *entire* mystery to the audience in one scene. There's also a spectacular failure to find a consistent tone here. I mean, as much as I love the atmosphere some of the time, they completely ruin it overall by randomly wedging in completely discordant, zany comedy scenes in several places for no real reason.

Red Data Girl (TV) Weak

Seen: 1 episode | I was enjoying this for the first little bit. It seemed like a reasonably interesting mystery....aaaaand then it quickly degenerates into a massive incoherent mess. From the moment helicopter guy shows up the show ditches any sort of subtlety in favor of another classic example of the apparent attitude among anime writers that you can just be really obtuse and have a bunch of impenetrable conversations that mean nothing to the viewer and that'll be interesting. It's not though. At all.

Riddle Story of Devil (TV) Not really good

Seen: 5 episodes | You know, there are things I liked about this show, especially initially. Without a doubt the plot, the whole scenario, everything, is completely contrived. It's totally over the top and makes no sense. But they've done a solid job with the two main characters. Their relationship is quite believable as is Azuma's decision to switch sides thanks large in part to them giving it some time and letting it happen somewhat naturally. Plus, the series is generally well directed and very stylish and moody. The trouble is, as it settles into its weekly routine it starts to get really, really complacent. I mean, a big part of why the show worked initially for me is that it's really tense. It feels like, even when these girls are just sitting in class, there's this really heavy, unspoken tension between them all since they all know they're in competition. But by episode 3 a lot of that totally evaporates. The show really changes its tone and often feels way more like boring old girls going to school and being buddies stuff. Occasionally tensions flair up, but really only if someone says or does something overtly hostile. Otherwise everybody is just buds. It's dumb. And dull. Plus, I'm also getting really tired of the assassin of the week's tedious back story every time. There's some decent bits here and I wonder if it won't put together a decent conclusion in the end. But the week to week, assassin of the day episodes are pretty bad so I'm gonna drop it.

Rideback (TV) Weak

Seen: About half | On the upside, the regular animation is very smooth but then the character designs are fairly bland looking and a few of them have rather ugly faces that seem weirdly out of proportion and have silly looking, ever present blush lines. There's also the issue of the extremely fake looking CG work that doesn't blend at all with the rest. It isn't very well animated either which makes what should be faced paced and smooth races between sleek and agile machines instead seem slow and awkward and makes the machines look clumsy and dull. That's sort of the central problem with Rideback. You know what I find interesting about this show? Nothing. Amazingly, this show is making me not care about big mecha motorcycles. The few racing scenes don't really deliver any excitement. In fact, they somehow manage to be downright boring. They're few and far between as well and the rest of the show manages to be even more dull. It moves about as fast as a snail stuck in molasses. I've gotten half way through the series and there's barely even a real central conflict. It's just sort of...the lead character slowly getting into this new hobby and some vague and slightly ominous mutterings that the government is up to something. The setup which involves some resistance group "suddenly taking over the world" and installing a totalitarian regime is pretty lame too. Also, nothing would make me happier than if the annoying dark haired girl suddenly died and was never mentioned again. So basically, to put it briefly: This show is boring and I have no interest in seeing any more of it.

RIN - Daughters of Mnemosyne (TV) Awful

Seen: 3 episodes | The first episode is ridiculously random. Things seemed to happen for no real reason. She is running from somebody who is trying to kill her (and she's naked for some reason). Then she meets a guy and for no apparent reason decides to help him because something isn't "right" and some guys are chasing him. Then they get caught and some random crazy lady tortures her with body piercings. Then it turns out she's immortal and he's a clone and there are zombies....ooooookay. It's one thing to have things that aren't yet explained but in this case it seems too much like a bunch of random events happening for no real reason other than because it would be cool if they did. Also, while I'm pretty tolerant of the really graphic stuff when it serves a purpose, when it doesn't I find it just tasteless and exploitative and that's definitely the case here.

The art and animation is okay for TV but for an OVA I would have hoped for better. There was a couple cool action sequences but otherwise there just wasn't that much here. The second episode was a definite improvement as there was an actual logical flow to the plot. However, it still seems fairly light on substance in favour of an excess of graphic violence, nudity, and various sex related plot points. Again, it really isn't enough to carry an anime on its own. Episode 3 again managed to hit a bunch of random clichés. We had zombies so clearly cyborgs and killer viruses were the next logical step. Also, Death Island. Oh right, because Skull Island was taken. It had a bunch of mutilation and sex and as was bound to happen eventually, they threw the kid in there. (No. I don't care that she 'just looks like a kid'. That's a bullshit excuse and we all know it.) With each episode it has felt more and more exploitative and fucked up I'm definitely not going to be seeing any more.

Robotics;Notes (TV) So-so

Seen: 5 or 6 episodes | Ninety percent of this show is a relatively down to earth, slice of life style show about a highschool robotics club. It's pretty low key most of the time but it has some rather nice moments scattered her and there. Watching these little robot dudes fight is neat. The characters are quite a lot of fun (even if Aki borders on annoying at times) and there's actually some very solid characterization lurking in the background (especially when it comes to the boys. The girls...we'll see). There are a few issues (episode 3 felt heavily compressed. There are a couple really ugly time skips that don't work at all) but for the most part it is a surprisingly solid, if also rather unremarkable, show that I'm actually rather enjoying. Then there's the other ten percent of this show though. I'm gonna go ahead and address this part separately because I cannot for the life of me think how to integrate it into the above (which probably says something about the awkward way it is presented). Apparently there's [spoiler]some kind of big conspiracy and the sun might be blowing up[/spoiler]. Yeah. Seriously. This totally comes out of left field. We spend several episodes in robot club mode and then out of nowhere, the MC finds a secret file telling him this. Perhaps even stranger, the show mostly goes back to robot club in the next episode. So yeah. I really don't know what to make of this at all. I don't know if I'd go so far as to say I dislike this story line (the way it was introduced I certainly dislike, the story line itself though...not sure) but I'm definitely rather wary of it. I'm liking this show for what it is thus far and I don't want to see it go off on something totally different that may or may not work.

Rurouni Kenshin (TV) Decent

Seen: First two seasons | Definitely a fun show. Kenshin's whole not killing people thing got on my nerves though. A lot of the time it really just made me roll my eyes. I think the problem was that he did so without any real difficulty. Where as in Trigun for example, Vash's non-killing has consequences. It's really difficult to manage and frequently gets him injured. It's a struggle which gives it meaning and significance. Here, he just seems to do it as an afterthought. "I've beat you but I won't kill you because I'm all noble or whatever now". The second season is really quite good though. I doubt I'll ever get around to watching the third season though. It apparently degenerates back to random episodic stuff.

Samurai Pizza Cats (TV)

Seen: ??? | I don't actually remember it but I definitely remember liking it when I was a kid. It was on TV (heavily edited from what I hear). I recall it was actually pretty funny in a really weird sort of way.

School-Live! (TV)

Seen: 1 episode | Gosh, I'm really not sure how to evaluate this show. I guess I'd have to say I didn't like it...or at least I didn't enjoy it. I mean almost everything up until the last minute bored me to tears. Maybe the odd little moment of physical comedy that landed. But just so much boring. At the same time...that twist! I had a rough idea that the premise of this show involved zombies but I really didn't see that coming. To the show's credit too, it is a legitimately well set up twist. It's not just an arbitrary gotcha. It is something that totally makes sense when you look back. It's pretty neat too how the show effectively disguises these things that are, by all rights, really weird simply by virtue of their being part of a silly, unrealistic, slice of life show in which they seem like nothing. Still, at the end of the day, this really just leaves me in a place where I can look back and appreciate what they did there. It's tough to get by the way 90% of the episode left me so utterly bored.

SD Gundam Force (TV)

Seen: 1 episode | It's...well...I really don't know what to say here. I mean I really truly don't. Why is this even a thing?

Selector Infected Wixoss (TV) Weak

Seen: 2 episodes | You know, I actually like a lot of things about this show. Nice art design. Effective atmosphere. Likable main character and solid characterization. Very believable family relationship. Chemistry with the brother. And the main character actually comes across as pretty genuinely isolated outside of her family. I'm sorry to though, say the playing of the game is just atrocious. And this, understand, is coming from someone who would totally watch a show where a bunch of people play a TCG. At first I was disappointed because they seem to be using the tired "she's just magically super powerful because of reasons" trope which is pretty dull. If they're really doing a "serious" card show it would be nice to see something approaching actual strategy and/or a protagonist who actually wins by being good. But hell, at this point I'd settle for something straight out of Yugioh. At least Yugioh had actual rules and mechanics.

Here...well lets just say we're two episodes in and I literally could not tell you how you win at this game. All they seem to do is take turns having their avatars take swings at each other. There's no clear win condition or scoring system. Heck, they barely even play cards. And when they do, it has no tangible effect. It just makes their avatar more powerful in some completely nondescript and undefined way. Occasionally they do get to actually do something like make the opponent discard a card. But it's not because of anything they've played or any discernible rules of the game. It's just declared that they get to do this because of their deck or their avatar or something I guess.

Of course, outside of battles, they're still happy to toss around a ton of terminology. Although it's all nothing but techno-babble essentially since they've never bothered to explain any of it, or even use it in a way that is expository. Oh, her deck is a red deck so if she added this card it would help her cycle faster? Well that might be interesting if I had literally any idea what either of those things mean. I don't know. I guess maybe the intent here is that people will go out and buy the card game and already know this stuff. That seems a bit like putting the cart before the ox though. Plus, even in that case, I can't imagine why they'd want to when there is so little to the actual battles.

Sengoku Basara - Samurai Kings (TV) Not really good

Seen: 1 episode | If there is one thing Basara has it's energy. If there's one thing it doesn't its a plot. Sure there is some talk about...something (I didn't really pay much attention). It more or less amounts to there are a lot of dudes from different territories and they are fighting. Watch them fight. It works okay in that manner too because it's extremely well animated. Also, because it is again very energetic, even if it's just a lot of mindless action it doesn't get boring (yet anyway). It's also clearly a rather silly show. I don't really have any strong feelings on that. It's not bothering me but I haven't found it all that funny either. Honestly, I only saw this because someone told me it was like the most hilarious thing ever. It's not bad but not great either so I don't think I'll see it.

(The) Seven Deadly Sins (TV) Bad

Seen: 2 episodes | *Sigh* Really? We can't even get away from this dumb, boob groping crap in shounen shows now? And make no mistake, this is certainly a shounen show. Chipper young lead. Check. Dumb mascot sidekick. Check. Potential for formulaic structure? Check. I don't know, after World Trigger, I feel a little unfair calling this a bad show just on comparison. But It's not really doing much for me. The pig is annoying and way too talkative. The actual lead does very little. The girl is weepy and useless. The pacing is a little sluggish. The fight sequences so far aren't really notable or anything. I guess credit where its due though: The art design is nice. It's got a nice, clean, bubbly art style that I find quite appealing. Beyond that though, this show just doesn't appeal to me at all.

(The) Severing Crime Edge (TV) Weak

Seen: A few episodes | As an actual logical narrative this show is a mess. No part of this actually makes sense. It's just utter nonsense. As a extremely weird and almost surreal mood piece though it actually kinda works. Or at least the first episode did. It doesn't particularly hold up long term. In fact, even by episode 2 this show is started to lose me. There were a few cool, stylish parts but it gets largely bogged down in a whole lot of boring dialogue trying to explain a bunch of stupid, ridiculous stuff that I never cared about to begin with. In fact, the only reason episode 1 worked was because it didn't bother to explain. It just sorta went with its own weird nonsensical happenings.

Shaman King (TV)

Seen: A bunch | Another show I vaguely remember from my childhood. Couldn't tell you if it is any good. Don't really remember anything about it specifically.

SHIMONETA: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist (TV) So-so

Seen: About Half | On a general level, I actually like what this show is doing a lot. It's a pretty solid satire of draconian attitudes towards sexuality. Moment to moment though, it is a much more mixed bag. If nothing else there's simply a mountain of sex puns that just feel contrived and awkward. Mind you, a lot of that may have to do with this being the sort of humor that just does not work well at all translated and/or subtitled. In any case though, there's a lot here that just doesn't land for me. The show does have its moments though. They certainly capture the absurdity of the kind of rumors you get among a group of people wholly ignorant about sex. I also enjoyed the way the authorities find themselves hamstrung by their own fear of sexuality. And the little cartoon flies did make me laugh.

(The) Skull Man (TV) Not really good

Seen: 3 episodes | In a good mystery each event is like a piece of a puzzle. They don't mean anything on their own but once you get a few you start to find places they fit together and when that happens you can see a little bit of the larger picture. As more are and more pieces are added more and more connect and the picture becomes clearer and clearer. Skull Man doesn't really do a good job of this though. It looks fairly nice and the lead characters are reasonably likable. However so far the story is poorly revealed. There are far to many characters introduced right off the bat, most of whom serve no clear significance at this point. Events don't seem to have any clear connection at this point or really expand what we know about the greater plot. Particularly the big event in episode 3, fails to really connect with anything else. (It also rather comes out of nowhere). I think this may still have the potential to improve once you get a little deeper into it and the pieces start to fall into place but it may just turn out to be junk so I think I'll just drop it.

Snow White with the Red Hair (TV) So-so

Seen: 2 episodes | Boy, when they call this "Snow White" they really aren't just making some half-assed allusion. This show really feels like a fairy tale. The music is very evocative of a Disney princess flick with lots of flutes and violins and such. This is a very pretty show too with solid production values and a lot of lush, forest backgrounds. Although, it's also a touch boring stylistically. The character designs especially are pretty generic. They also create a weird bit of dissonance in that the story makes a big deal out of Shirayuki's red hair...but almost everyone has candy colored anime hair. I'm not honestly that enamored with the story either. I mean, it's fine. Perfectly passable stuff I suppose. It's just sort of an oddity in a lot of ways. It seems like this show [i]really[/i] is trying to be a subversion of its classic fairy tale roots but is also just extremely bad at it. (Either that or it is simply trying to have its cake and eat it too). For instance, the show initially subverts the classic "maiden meets handsome prince charming" trope by having the handsome prince of the land who is into Shirayuki actually turn out to be a huge, entitled, manipulative creep. (Honestly, a little too much of a creep given the extent to which he is played for laughs). The actual love interest is nice guy Zen who she meets in the woods. Except...turns out he's also a prince too from another country. In another potentially subversive twist, Zen is the one eats the poisoned apple dick prince sends to Shirayuki thus forcing her to try and save him. Dick prince demands Shirayuki become his concubine in exchange for the antidote. He puts his hands on her and she dramatically slaps them away. Again this is all very subversive of expectations. Except then she proceeds to immediate agree to his offer, at which point Zen bursts in, pretty much okay (because of reasons), and totally saves the day. It's so weird too because the show is pretty explicit about telling the viewer that this is Shirayuki's story and she's choosing her own path. It's not a subtle thing. But in terms of the way things are actually presented, it's still all on Zen's terms. In the end, he has to tell her that it's up to her. And then she's all like "Is it really okay for me to choose?" And her choice in the end is still the pretty standard fairy tale "let some handsome prince you just met whisk you away to comfort and safety!" Honestly, that's something I could largely live with if this was just a classic fairy tale played straight. But it's downright distracting when the show is so clearly trying to be subversive but kinda failing at every turn. Anyway, if I belabor the above point it's just because of how weird it is, rather than how much it actually ruins the show. Like I said, this is still a more or less fine show. Although fine is the operative word. It's fairly unremarkable as well. Pretty standard shoujo/fantasy stuff. The best thing I can really say about it is that it's the kind of thing I can see other people maybe liking. It isn't really for me though.

(il) sole penetra le illusioni ~ Day Break Illusion (TV) Bad

Seen: 2 episodes | This show is trying really, really hard to be Madoka Magica. And that's a good thing if it manages to actually be something dark and intelligent rather than just the same old stuff but with a bunch of awkward violence and general grimness. Honestly, I'm leaning toward the latter though. There's already too many characters which gives me little hope it won't degenerate into a lot of boring cutouts. And honestly, this show feels very pandering. The main character is so overbearingly moe and that one scene had some creepy tentacle porn vibes to it. The show isn't actually making a ton of sense to me either. They handled her somewhat strained relationship with her adoptive sister quite well initial. And then, all of a sudden, she's thinking about killing her? Or something? Then she's attacked by plant monsters? But it was a dream? But her sister is dead? And boom! We cut to them living the same day again but her sister no longer exists? Did I interpret that correctly? Oh and now this other guy (who we only were introduced to via a throwaway line of exposition) is also a monster and she has to fight him? Yeah. Like I said, not very clear at all. I like the music though. So there's that. Unfortunately, episode 2 does nothing to improve my opinion of this show. They started talking about tarot cards and powers and secret organizations and I just tuned out. Plus, it It only confirms my fears by introducing an absurdly bloated cast that the show can't hope to support beyond the most shallow of stereotypes.

Speed Grapher (TV) Weak

Seen: About half | First and foremost, I love the music here. It's lively, fun and sets a great mood. Secondly, the art and animation here look great. The character designs are distinct. The fights are sleek and a lot of fun to watch. I've heard a lot of people complain about major drops in quality but for the life of me I didn't notice any. The dub is quite nice as well. The premise is interesting if a little ill explained at this point. The second episode drags a bit but the others are all effectively intriguing and interesting. The problem with Speed Grapher though is that it often tries way way way WAY too hard. If they had just had the sense to tone it the heck down this could have been a good show. Instead, it's just a silly show. There are a number of points where things such as the absurd bleakness of the setting or the perversity of the club that are just miles too over the top. Also the fetishes. I mean, I've been to the internet. There are more than enough real and genuinely creepy fetishes out there. You don't need to make up new ridiculous ones. No, sorry but this show is just stupid.

Stella Women's Academy, High School Division Class C3 (TV) Not really good

Seen: 4 or 5 episodes | I actually enjoyed this show initially. It seems like they realized how absurd it was and it's actually kinda cute. But in a quirky and fun way that doesn't feel quite as fake as these shows usually do. Honestly though, by episode 2 I'm already getting tired of this show. It seems like it has lost the quirky humor that made me like it. And by episode 3 it's falling hard into the really trite tropes of these kinds of shows (Hotsprings! Always with the fucking hotsprings!) and also getting weirdly melodramatic, far too much so for such a silly show. But then again, just as I'm contemplating dropping it, it busts out this bizarre, trippy story in epsiode 4 that was...well also pretty absurdly melodramatic but totally weird and surreal enough to pull it off. So I guess now things are looking up now. Except then if falls back on doing a beach episode next. Which wasn't actually nearly as bad as it could have been but...well you remember how initially I said this show seemed a little less fake than these shows usually do? Yeah. That's right out the window. In the end, I don't hate this show. I doubt I'll get around to finishing it.

Strike the Blood (TV) So-so

Seen: A few episodes | Hey, this is a just marginally passable action show. The fights are decent, the pacing is solid and it basically doesn't do anything TOO stupid or otakuish to ruin it (Although there's certainly the odd dumb fanservice/harem moment here and there). Is it actually good? Not really at all, no. But I guess I'd have to call it at least marginally watchable and compared to some of the truly dreadful shows out there...it's something! If I was bored and had time I needed to kill I might keep watching this. I don't though so I won't.

Sunday Without God (TV) Bad

Seen: 1 episode | Manages to find time to be obnoxiously cutesey while otherwise being oppressively grim. Shows little interest in fully explaining its immensely convoluted premise. Which would be bad enough, but then it acts like we should care about this shit when we don't even know what its significance is (ie. The suggestion at the end of the episode that Moe-chan is actually not a "gravekeeper"). Basically just a dull, nonsensical slog.

Terraformars (TV) Awful

Seen: 4 episodes | This is a pretty awful show so far. It's comically overwrought. The dialogue is awful. Back-story is clumsily and literally explained. The plot is very piecemeal so far. Nothing actually struck me as remotely interesting about the characters either. And finally, visually the show is actually quite ugly. The budget is obviously miniscule and the action scenes are tremendously insubstantial and the art style isn't much better either. It's like an attempt to ape the washed out, shadowy look of an old early 90s OVA but with none of the visual flair that actually made some of those works interesting to look at. Really, the best thing I can say about it is that the action scenes do actually get a bit better once they get to Mars. But even then, they're still cheap, simple, and buried among mountains of boring lead-up that's not worth sitting through.

Tokko (TV) Not really good

Seen: 1 or 2 episodes | Better than I thought it would be. Its got a decent horror atmosphere. The truth is that it just isn't really at all exceptional. I might start watching it again some time if I've got nothing better but for now I have enough excellent anime to watch that I don't want to watch something mediocre.

Tokyo Underground (TV) Worst ever

Seen: An episode or two | This may be literally the most generic show ever.

Un-Go (TV) Weak

Seen: 5 episodes | This is a perfect example of a potentially interesting show that's simply terribly executed. It's mostly all totally episodic so generally the first half of every episode is just one big info dump to establish the players. Once the murder does finally happen there's next to no time to actually resolve it. Everything is extremely rushed. They jump wildly from one spot to another. For instance, one second they're standing over the murder victim, and the next they're standing over a totally different dead body that we've never seen before. Then, all of a sudden, they're in a different room entirely once again. Inga's whole transformation comes out of nowhere too. She just appears part way through the first episode. However, nobody really explains why he suddenly transformed into a different person or really, even asks about it. We don't see him change either. It's all pretty weird and nonsensical. Then she (he?) does this weird spooky ghost voice thing which apparently makes people confess (again, how is never really explained). Somebody does just that and we get another big info dump where they explain how and why they did it. That's the thing about the show. It's about 90% exposition. There's really very little actual investigating or anything. Rather, it's just everyone standing in a circle and taking turns giving their own expositional speech (forcibly via Inga where required) until we're told what happened and why (It usually relates to the war or the government or something). This is another major problem by the way: A serious lack of world building. So far, all the episodes have been directly tied to this unique world the show takes place in and yet, we really haven't gotten a coherent picture of what kind of world it is. There's a lot of really vague rambling about this aforementioned war and there seems to be some kind of vaguely totalitarian government or something. Oh and there are perfectly lifelike robots. Again, it's all wildly unclear and as a result the whole show is just incoherent. At no point is it even slightly intriguing. Same goes for the characters. Shinjuro is utterly devoid of a personality. Inga is just annoying. We never really learn what the hell he is exactly. (There's this really weird info dump in episode 5 where another character just kinda offhandedly mentions that he's "haunting" Shinjuro in exchange for not killing people or something). The girl seems like nothing but an empty "fujoshi self insert" shell character. I don't even know what that other detective's deal is or why he's around.

Ushio & Tora (TV) So-so

Seen: 8 episodes | So this very obviously adapted from a '90s shounen manga, for better and worse. Although I'm afraid the "worse" may be a bit more prevalent. I mean, the art style is interesting, fresh if perhaps only by virtue of its age. Some of the comic relief here is pretty dire though. Some episodes are worse than others but overall...this stuff wasn't even funny back in the 90s. Characters yelling at one another is not a joke. It's just noise. What's worse is, this also seems to be their go to for livening up exposition. Every conversation between Ushio and his dad or Tora takes this form. Again though, it's not that this show doesn't have its upside. There are a few legitimately nice big action sequences where they've obviously pulled out all the stops. Episodes 2 and 7 stand out to me as especially strong. These are arguably the exceptions though. There are also a lot of episodes that feel pretty forgettable. Too forgettable possibly to outweigh this show's faults.

Witch Craft Works (TV) Bad

Seen: 2 episodes | You know, this is a pretty polished looking show that has some pretty good music too. If only I could find more to like about the actual show besides the ED. But the main characters are painfully boring, the side characters are too numerous to even keep track of, the idol worship of the girl is ridiculous and unbelievable and the whole thing is wrapped in a dumb, magical girlfriend scenario. Also, a show this bad has no right to have something as great as a humanoid crocodile in a suit and hat in it so I'm officially revoking their permission. I have the power to do that.

Wizard Barristers: Benmashi Cecil (TV) Bad

Seen: 2 episodes | So basically, here's what is gonna happen if you watch this show: You're gonna see one pretty slick battle right at the very beginning of episode 1 involving the tough, female cop who seems pretty cool. And you're gonna be like, yeah, this looks good. It isn't. And that opening battle? Could not be more unrepresentative of the actual show. The cops pretty much disappear after that. They're replaced by a super annoying, ridiculously cutesy lawyer girl as the main character. Really, all the lawyer girls are not very appealing. Even more annoying and pointless frog sidekick who's a huge perv for some inane reason. Character designs have way too much going on. And while you might forgive Cecil's outfit as intentionally ridiculous, as her co-workers (and later Judges, this is a huge recurring plot point) repeatedly call attention to it, that itself just seems nonsensical when all the wizard lawyers (who nobody mentions) are all dressed in outfits that are themselves nearly as garish.

Oh and there's big, dumb, awful looking CG mech things in this show. Yeah, didn't expect that. Not even monsters or golems or something magicish. Just straight up robots. Of course, they justify it with magic but it still feels wildly discordant. And really, it feels like a pretty obvious budget driven choice. "Hey guys! Remember that great fight from the beginning of the episode? Well fuck if we can afford that on a regular basis. So forget the wizards that this is supposed to be about. Here are the same shitty (but cheap) CG mech fights from every other anime!" Actually, that whole action focus in general should sorta be a tip-off here. I mean okay, the cops catch em before the lawyers can defend em. But when they start tossing the lawyers into the action constantly (instead of resolving the case...you know...like lawyers, they do it by chasing down and capturing the real bad guys in a big magical fight) well it speaks to a complete lack of confidence in your ability to write interesting legal drama (as per your premise).

Really though, that lack of confidence is completely justified. The legal side of this show is garbage. I mean, I like the idea of a world where magic exists, but as a result, magic users are feared and frequently harassed and treated unfairly. I hoped it would mean they wouldn't have to find such contrived reasons for their clients to be falsely accused (which you kinda need to do in a story about defense lawyers). But no, they're just going the other extreme. Prejudice is used as an absurd and over the top hand wave to have people put on trial on the most tenuous grounds. I mean, at the end of the first trial, the judge basically says "Well, all this evidence that he did anything wrong is completely circumstantial. Death penalty." That's pretty much the show in a nutshell. And the resolution is equally inane. It involves the actual bad guy completely spilling his guts in court for no reason. He outright confesses to the robbery and in doing so, he actually saves the defendant, a guy he explicitly says he hates for killing his friend. Really, the defenders are complete morons for putting him on the stand. In any sane world, he would have at best denied all knowledge or at worst, claimed the defendant was in on the robbery just to spite him.

World Conquest Zvezda Plot (TV) Weak

Seen: 3 episodes | You know, its odd. I expected to have a stronger reaction to this, be it positive or negative (or a mix of both). Mostly though, it is just fucking dull. I guess on the bright side, the loli fanservice is far less in your face that I expected. But the humor is pretty dumb. It's not generally painfully bad so again, that's something. But it sure isn't funny. It's just...well look, if you've ever seen any other screwball, otaku-ish "comedy" then you've seen what this has to offer. I guess there is this whole angle of supposed world conquest too but so far we haven't really been given enough info to come to any conclusions about just what is going on here. I don't overwhelmingly hate it but it isn't really doing anything for me in the slightest.

(The) World Is Still Beautiful (TV) Weak

Seen: 2 episodes | What a snooze. Perky girl goes to the big (medieval) city. She has some wacky misadventures, befriends some folk, and clashes with a couple bumbling thieves. This is all really well worn and frankly dull material. And it gets even worse once she meets the king. I mean, to me it's a classic case of us being supposed to like him just because he's occasionally not as much of a jerk as he could be. But not only is he a nasty, abusive little shit the rest of the time, he is also by all rights a militant dictator bent on world domination. And yet the show seems to more or less treat him as at worst a slightly irksome brat, if not a tragic character who we're supposed to feel sorry for for having such a bleak outlook. And that would be one thing if they tried to use some past tragedy to justify his behavior. But they rather spell out that he was trying to conquer the world well before any such incident. And that in turn makes his response seem just absurdly unsympathetic. Boo hoo. Mean rebels are trying to kill me for being a militant despot. I'm gonna have a little "life is cruel so that justifies me being cruel" hissy fit and be even more of a despot. Gimme a break.

World Trigger (TV) Awful

Seen: 1 episode | *Incredibly slow pan over a still image of me not giving a single fuck about this generic, utterly uninspired, no budget, no effort turd*

Xenosaga: The Animation (TV) Weak

Seen: 4 episodes | I'm really not impressed. I don't want to perpetually criticize this for being different from the game but I will criticize it certainly for being simply worse than the game in many respects. First off the pace feels somewhat rushed. We don't really have any time to get to know any of the characters before we're thrown into the action. The relationship between Shion and KOS-MOS is entirely absent. It also stands out to me that this series looks absolutely awful. I actually quite like the character designs but they're quite frequently off model and the animation is brutally bad. Clunky and slow and awkward. Partially because of this but also because of certain intangible issues the Gnosis seem like much more cheesy and generic monsters whereas in the game they had a pretty cool, freakish and ghost-like quality. The other villain, Albedo seems much more bland and generic as well compared to his bat-shit insane counterpart from the game. To be fair, even with these problems it's by no means a horrible anime. It's just something of a disappointing one. Xenosaga the game was just begging to be a show. Sadly, It didn't work out so well when it actually became one though.

Yatterman Night (TV) So-so

Seen: 3 episodes | Very nice visual composition. A surprisingly sweet story. The premise of former bag guys as the new good guys is interesting. Boy though, this show's tendency towards silly slapstick antics and wacko cartoon logic feels massively at odds with its otherwise grim, dystopian aesthetic and mood. Especially given that the two tend to be very randomly interspersed. Ultimately, I like a whole lot of what this show is doing. Just not quite enough to overcome it's glaring tonal flaws.

Yona of the Dawn (TV) So-so

Seen: 5 episodes | You know, I was pretty much ready to dismiss this entirely at the mid-point of epsiode 1 as a silly female harem/romance with a screechy, vapid, boring lead and exactly the same dumb, hyperactive comedy relief you've seen in every other show ever. But actually, once this show gets going, it's really pretty decent. Yeah, the comedy relief still rears its head on occasion and the lead girl is completely useless but it is looking like that will change at least eventually and all things considered the rest of the show seems pretty well executed. For what they are, the characters are well realized and the plot actually has a nice twist to it. Yona and Hak have some chemistry with eachother. Also, as much as it has contributed to the Yona as baggage issue, I quite like how the show is handling the death of her father as a seriously traumatic event and not just a launching point for the story. They also do a nice job capturing just what a shock it is just to be living out in the woods instead of in a castle. The show looks fairly nice too. Fairly standard period stuff but again, well done for what it is. And the sweeping musical score helps quite a bit. So yeah. Not bad. At the same time though, this show is not exactly anything special. It's probably not going anywhere revolutionary. If you're into this kind of thing? Eh, maybe check it out. I'm not gonna get around to finishing it though.

Yu-Gi-Oh! (TV 2/2000) Weak

Seen: Most of it. I think I finally dropped out somewhere in season 4 | Yeah, I was pretty into YuGiOh at one point. I watched the show, I played the card game, and I kept at it longer than I care to admit. Really though, I was probably more into the game than the anime. I mean the anime got me into it but I think by the end I had lost track of it and was just playing the game. To be honest though, I don't hate the show even now. Really, I would say YuGiOh's main problem is you have to be into the card game and furthermore be able to get some degree of enjoyment out of watching people play it. If that's the case though, for this kind of thing it's not bad. The whole Egyptian theme is neat and fresh. The story is actually has some relatively dark and serious aspects. It's nice to see a main character who doesn't have ADD. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Yugioh is good. Just that it's not as bad as some other comparable series.

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX (TV) Awful

Seen: I don't know | Yeah...I saw a little bit of this. It's like, lets take the original anime which wasn't really "good" to begin with and then strip out the few little upsides and stuff it with any bad aspect and or cliche that the first series managed to dodge.

Zombie-Loan (TV) Bad

Seen: 5 or 6 episodes | I'm fairly certain this show must have gotten it's entire budget from the change in somebody's couch. I'm generally not too good at picking up short cuts and cheap animation but it's almost painfully obvious here that this is a budget project. There's a serious overuse of chibi/deformed gag animation which, while occasionally rather funny, often comes off more as an excuse to be cheap. It's also sometimes used at rather inappropriate times which disrupts the tension. This overuse as well as the generally sloppy and cheap visuals also detract from the somewhat unique character designs and nice color palate which are otherwise one of the upsides. Another upside is the upbeat but spooky music which does sometimes manage to create a decent atmosphere. Again though, this is often disrupted by the aforementioned problems.

The lead character is hit and miss but mostly miss. She's shy, and spineless and...well you know the cliche. It's actually pulled off somewhat well here and she can actually be a bit fun sometimes but it's overall an annoying trope. The two guys are equally cliched. There's the reserved cool one and the fiery emotional one. Of course they're both complete jerks most of the time because apparently, if they're also really nice on rare occasions that's just fine and totally not a sign of bipolar disorder. Although really, they don't show much of a nice side even by the usual standards of this cliche which actually almost would work if they weren't such wankers other times. There's also a bunch of other characters who seem equally cliche and one dimensional as well as largely pointless to the story.

There's some pretty major pacing problems here as well which is what really damns the show. The opening episode feels awfully rushed and not all too clear about what's going on. Then in the third episode the pace hits a wall. They spend three bloody episodes hunting one zombie. The whole process feels needlessly drawn out and there's a bit of pointless otaku bait jammed in there. There's a ton of exposition in this series and half of it's not even important. They spend a whole chunk of time trying to figure out something in their investigation and then it's rendered irrelevant a few seconds later. I actually didn't mind the couple episodes because despite their flaws they were at least reasonably energetic and lively. In the latter part though, the show becomes utterly dull which pretty much sinks an already deeply flawed show.